SANTA CRUZ (CNN) — Fog off the coast of California could be poisoning the state’s mountain lions with mercury.
That’s according to a study from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Researchers found marine fog mercury levels were three times higher in mountain lions living along the coast than those living inland.
Mercury is released in the atmosphere through mining and coal fired power plants.
The toxins can cause neurological damage and decrease fertility.
The study showed the fog-borne mercury is moving all the way up the food chain, starting with plants, then deer and mountain lions.
Researchers say the mercury levels in fog don’t pose a health risk to humans.