'Clean' hydroelectric power poses northern methylmercury threat: study

Published on September 8, 2015

A new study by Harvard University researchers suggests hydroelectric projects will put more methylmercury pollution into northern ecosystems than climate change.

Methylmercury is a toxic byproduct as mercury blends with bacteria that's linked to neurological and other issues.

High levels of the substance in Arctic marine life have been traced to global warming as sea ice melts.

But the researchers say governments turning to hydroelectric dams as a cleaner way to curb climate change must consider effects of flooding.

The study echoes concerns raised by Inuit leaders who fear methylmercury downstream from the new Muskrat Falls dam in Labrador will soar.

Crown corporation Nalcor Energy is monitoring mercury levels but has said contamination in Lake Melville will be diluted to "no measurable effects."