Atmospheric mercury review raises concerns of environmental impact

Aug 29, 2014

The professor and chair of the UALR Department of Chemistry has recently completed an in-depth review of atmospheric mercury in Energy and Emissions Control Technologies, an open access peer-review journal published by Dove Press.

Dr. Jeffrey S. Gaffney and his co-author Nancy A. Marley stressed in their article the many forms that atmospheric mercury takes and how its levels are in balance with mercury levels found in our water, soil, and the biosphere.

Recent studies that show increasing levels of mercury in the ocean's upper levels, along with news reports of Arkansas lakes as a hotspot for mercury in fish, have heightened awareness of the potential harm mercury poses.

The article, titled "In-depth review of atmospheric mercury: sources, transformations, and potential sinks," has seen extensive online traffic since it was first published Aug. 6.

Gaffney said the high volume of page visits was likely tied to the recent news concerning the rising levels of mercury in the oceans. Mercury is a toxic, heavy metal found naturally throughout the global environment.

Increased levels of mercury in the water could be caused by primarily in precipitation, something not usually considered when measuring , according to the authors.

This timely review outlines the chemistry of mercury in gas, aqueous, and solid phases, including inorganic, organic, and complexed mercury species. The research particularly brings attention to the wet reaction of gaseous mercury with hydrogen peroxide that can occur in clouds and on wet aerosol surfaces.

The sources and fate of mercury in the atmosphere, including the cycling of through soil and water as it impacts atmospheric loadings, are also examined in the , as well as recommendations for future studies.

Explore further: Consumer reports advises pregnant women to avoid tuna

More information: The article, titled "In-depth review of atmospheric mercury: sources, transformations, and potential sinks," is available online: www.dovepress.com/in-depth-rev… eviewed-article-EECT

Provided by University of Arkansas at Little Rock

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Warmer oceans could raise mercury levels in fish

Oct 03, 2013

Rising ocean surface temperatures caused by climate change could make fish accumulate more mercury, increasing the health risk to people who eat seafood, Dartmouth researchers and their colleagues report ...

Engineered bacteria mop up mercury spills

Aug 12, 2011

Thousands of tonnes of toxic mercury are released into the environment every year. Much of this collects in sediment where it is converted into toxic methyl mercury, and enters the food chain ending up in the fish we eat. ...

Recommended for you

Implications for the fate of green fertilizers

3 hours ago

The use of green fertilizers is a practice that has been around since humans first began growing food, but researchers are warning that modern techniques for the creation of these fertilizers could have implications ...

Ditching coal a massive step to climate goal: experts

5 hours ago

Phasing out coal as an electricity source by 2050 would bring the world 0.5 degrees Celsius closer to the UN's targeted cap for climate warming, an analysis said on the eve of Tuesday's UN climate summit.

Monitoring heavy metals using mussels

8 hours ago

A research team in Malaysia has concluded that caged mussels are useful for monitoring heavy metal contamination in coastal waters in the Strait of Johore. Initial results indicate more pollution in the eastern ...

User comments : 0