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How mercury can enter our environment

How mercury can enter our environment

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Uploaded 01 Oct 2013 by GRID-Arendal
Year: 2013
From collection: Mercury - Time to act
Author: GRID-Arendal
Description:
While some pollutants are restricted in their range and in the size and number of the population they affect, mercury is not one of them. Wherever it is mined, used or discarded, it is liable – in the absence of effective disposal methods – to finish up thousands of kilometers away because of its propensity to travel through air and water. Beyond that, it reaches the environment more often after being unintentionally emitted than through negligence in its disposal. The prime example of this is the role played by the burning of fossil fuels and biomass in adding to mercury emissions. Once released, mercury can travel long distances, and persists in environments where it circulates between air, water, sediments, soil, and living organisms. Mercury is concentrated as it rises up the food chain, reaching its highest level in predator fish such as swordfish and shark that may be consumed by humans. There can also be serious impacts on ecosystems, including reproductive effects on bir ...
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