Fish absorb methylmercury and it slowly works its way up the food chain. Generally, the larger and older a marine animal is, the more mercury is in their systems. When whales get washed up onshore, they can’t be put back in the ocean or taken to the dump because they are considered bio-hazards. The amount of concentration of mercury in large fish can e 10,000 to 100,000 times that in the water.
Mercury accumulates in living things, so when a big fish eats a smaller fish, some of the mercury stays in the smaller fish. When an even bigger fish eats the big fish, some of the mercury from both stays. This means that the largest ocean creatures (such as whales) end up with massive amounts in their system.
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