Issue Date: May 25, 2009
I BELIEVE there may be an error in the last paragraph of "Quitting Quicksilver" (C&EN, March 2, page 13). Mercury emissions can affect the concentration of mercury in inland bodies of water like lakes or even saltwater bays. In these waters, mercury can accumulate in fish. It is doubtful that it can affect the oceans. The oceans average 4,000 meters deep and cover 70% of Earth's surface. Even thousands of tons of mercury won't increase oceans' natural background level of mercury, which accounts for its presence in some fish. I think it is important to correct the statement. The popular press picks up on this sort thing.
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