Issue Date: August 27, 2007
Mercury In The Atmosphere
"Mercury Excess" points out serious problems resulting from mercury in our planet's atmosphere (C&EN, July 2, page 21). The public tends to be "milligram wise and ton foolish" when focusing on the small amounts of mercury in electronic devices. Meanwhile, there are about 600 tons of mercury released every year from Chinese coal-burning power plants. The toxic metal goes up and across the globe, polluting the Pacific, North America, Europe, and Asia. Some is converted into methylmercury and is caught up in the food chain, in fish for example. The U.S. also pollutes, but on a smaller scale, and there are more efforts to prevent further increases.
I wonder about disoriented honeybees and effects such as autism, attention deficit disorder, and Alzheimer's on the nervous systems of humans. What studies have been done?
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