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DEP Eyes Mercury Levels

Florida Department of Environmental Protection officials are traveling the state to talk about mercury in Florida’s waterways. The group plans to set a limit or a “total maximum daily load” for how much should be allowed, but a lot of the pollution is out of Florida’s control.

The department’s Jan Mandrup-Poulsen said the majority of the mercury in Florida’s water bodies doesn’t come from within the United States.

“Eight to 10-percent is because of North America. So now you’ve got 90-percent of the sources being outside of the country," Mandrup-Poulsen said. " It’s hard for us in Florida to say we’re going to fix the problem because even if we turned all our knobs to zero, we’re not going to be able to fix everything.”

The biggest mercury problem comes from air emissions pumped out by facilities like coal plants,that eventually get’s into the water.The DEP said emissions for those plants need to be reduced by 86-percent. Mercury has been showing up in some of the fish Floridians eat. Officials said fish are still good for you, but certain groups, like children, should be careful about consuming large quantities of fish known to have high mercury levels like swordfish or tuna.