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Storm Runoff Dumping Toxics Into San Francisco Bay

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San Francisco Bay

Western span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (CBS)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A new study shows urban runoff is dumping heavy loads of mercury, PCBs and other toxic chemicals into San Francisco Bay.

The annual report card of the San Francisco Estuary Institute concluded that storm water from areas around the nine-county region contribute more toxic pollution to San Francisco, San Pablo and Suisun bays than large rivers that carry agricultural runoff from the Central Valley.

Institute scientist Jay Davis told the San Francisco Chronicle that tests of striped bass from the bay last year found they contained mercury levels averaging .4 parts per million—twice the level considered safe for moderate consumption.

The runoff also carries more visible forms of pollution: trash such as plastic bags.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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