Be aware that mercury is
a persistent, toxic contaminant that works its way up the food chain.
a known hazardous pollutant and toxin, yet typical "silver" amalgam dental fillings are about half mercury (see "Got Mercury," cover story, May/June 2002).
Though some mercury is
removed by cleaning the coal before burning, and more is recaptured in the stack, the EPA estimates that coal-fired power plants release 40 to 52 tons of mercury each year.
For most healthy adults, methyl mercury is
not a serious concern.
However, this form of mercury is
different from the methylmercury found in fish and may have a different effect on the risk of heart disease.
Gearhart says that once mercury is
released into the air it is deposited into bodies of water and ultimately ends up accumulating in fish.
Even when mercury is
accidentally released into the bloodstream by breakage of a rectal thermometer, for example, there are no reported adverse effects.
Demethylation of methylmercury into inorganic mercury is
the key step in the excretion process of methylmercury.
Intense interest in mercury is
evident from the recommendations adopted by the European Union Mercury Strategy in June 2005 (European Union 2005); also, a Global Mercury Assessment was approved by the Governing Council of the United Nations Environmental Program in early 2002.
If the main source of the halogens reacting with elemental mercury is
sea spray, Stevens says, this mechanism might increase concentrations of the metal in the water of warm coastal areas, such as Florida.
not dissolved, as stated in the article.) Unfortunately, not understanding this basic fact, your reporter taints an otherwise fairly well-reasoned report.
I grant that mercury is
a hazard, and I am glad that mercury thermometers are disappearing.