"If mercury is affecting them, it eventually is going to affect us, as well," Ms. White said.
Eagle chicks elsewhere in New York also were tested for mercury. But levels were not as high as those in the Catskills, which is home to several huge reservoirs that store drinking water for New York City, 110 miles away.
The city's water is tested regularly, and so far the mercury poses no known threat to people who drink it, city officials say.
But the mercury makes its way into worms and organisms eaten by fish, in streams and ponds as well as the reservoirs. The fish are then consumed by eagles (and sometimes by people, although New York has issued advisories limiting the amount of fish from the state's lakes and rivers that can be consumed safely).
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