Mercury Contamination in Georgia Rails

Ninety-four specimens of rail, crab. and snail collected at ten separate locations along the Georgia Coast between October, 1971, and September, 1973 were analysed for residual mercury. Excessive concentrations of mercury were found in specimens of clapper rail, sora, and periwinkle snail, collected from the Brunswick and Savannah estuaries. Actual concentrations within these two river systems ranged from 0.11 ppm. in one sample of sora breast muscle to 16.8 ppm. in periwinkle snail tissue (fresh wet weight basis). Mercury contamination exceeded the F.D.A. tolerance level of 0.50 ppm. in all clapper rail breast muscle samples taken from the Brunswick estuary, west of the Highway #17 bridge. Analysis of specimens taken outside of the Brunswick and Savannah estuaries indicated varYlng degrees of contamination, particularly in rails. although still well below the F.D.A. limit.

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