Let me ask you an opposite question. Was there less water/air pollution between 1970 and 1980 during the Cold War? I don't know anyone who would agree with this statement. During the cold war all kind of crap was put into rivers, air and lakes. We lacked technology to filter and clean waste and we lacked regulation. This changed. Regarding mercury, it is a poison and toxin but I come more and more to the conclusion that it's effects on world health are highly exaggerated and that whenever people lack the will to conduct scientific research, they blame it on some toxins, fungi, parasites or whatever. These explanations all have in common that there is a clearly defined, easy to understand enemy, which can be fought by certain treatment approaches. Understanding what really drives diseases is far beyond the intellectual capacity of these people. I myself lack the knowledge but this is no excuse for not at least trying to read and understand scientific papers. Back to mercury. There is one country where the population has one of the highest mercury exposures worldwide, Japan. The Japanese like to eat fish and their fish is highly contaminated with mercury. This goes so far that some fish contain 900 times more mercury than what is allowed. And now the miracle, despite these huge amounts of mercury, the Japanese consume every year, their life expectancy is the highest in the world. I highly doubt, that mercury is the culprit for whatever it is blamed for.