Fish in today’s oceans contain far lower levels of mercury, DDT and other toxic substances than at any time in the last four decades, according to a major review by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla.

The researchers looked at nearly 2,700 studies of pollutants found in fish samples taken from around the world between 1969 and 2012.

They saw steady, significant drops in the concentrations of a wide range of contaminants known to accumulate in fish — from about 50% for mercury to more than 90% for polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.

At high enough concentrations, these toxic substances can cause cancer, neurological disorders, birth defects, thyroid problems and other ailments in people who consume tainted fish.

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