Hidden Cost of Hydroelectric Dams

Hidden Cost of Hydroelectric DamsHidden Cost of Hydroelectric Dams

Hydroelectricity is a renewable energy and the facilities that produce it give off less greenhouse gases than other power plants. But damming bodies of water can lead to the production and release of methylmercury from the soil, Knowridge.com reported. This toxic compound can move up the food chain and potentially harm human health.  In the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, researchers quantify the possible increases in methylmercury exposures for indigenous communities living near planned facilities. Bacteria can convert mercury, which occurs naturally in the soil, to methylmercury when the land is flooded, such as when dams are built for hydroelectric power generation. Unlike mercury, however, methylmercury moves into the food chain.  People exposed to the chemical through their diet face increased cardiovascular risks and children with high prenatal exposure can develop attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, neurological abnormalities and other symptoms.


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