This article has been reviewed and approved by the following Topic Editor: Lori Zaikowski (other articles)
The five lakes, Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario, known as the Great Lakes contain about one fifth of the world’s total fresh water supply. While Lake Michigan is entirely within the United States, the other four lakes share the international border between U.S. and Canada.
During the last few decades, there have been serious pollution problems in the Great Lakes due to agricultural and industrial development as well as the growth in human population. Major contaminants in the Great Lakes are pesticides, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and heavy metals, such as mercury. Although mercury is a useful metal, it is highly toxic affecting the nervous and cardiovascular system. Exposure to mercury could lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe kidney damage, hallucinations, memory loss, nerve damage, inability to concentrate, increase in blood pressure level, loss of color vision, tremors, loss of dermal sensitivity, slurred speech and even paralysis and death.