Phoebe Home

Our Home


Teacher Lounge

Getting Involved

The Problem with Mercury


Mad as a Hatter

Mercury in our Environment

Mercury in our Food

Mercury Magnified

Mercury in the SF Bay

Protecting our Health

Three Things YOU Can Do To Stay Safe With Mercury

Mercury Magnified

When mercury moves up the food chain it gathers in the bodies of the fish and animals that have been contaminated. Because human beings eat fish, many of them become contaminated with mercury too. In fact, the most famous case of mercury poisoning occurred during the 1950s and 1960s in Minamata, Japan. Thousands of people became severely poisoned with mercury after eating contaminated fish out of the Minamata Bay. A nearby chemical factory had been discharging or dumping mercury into the bay for over thirty years and it contaminated the fish that lived there. Local villagers ate fish from the bay and because their bodies absorbed the mercury in the fish, it made them very sick. Over the years more than a thousand people died from this mercury poisoning, with thousands others being sick or born with birth defects.