Environmental Aspects of the Industrial Application of Mercury
A broad discussion of mercury in the environment is given. A concise discussion of the ancient uses of mercury and its occurrence in Nature are given first. This is followed by an explanation of the production of mercury from its ore and rough amounts of its use in world commerce. The role of industry in mercury pollution may be measured by its solubility in water at different temperatures and the solubility product of various mercury compounds. Mercury losses to the environment and maximum allowable concentrations (MACs) for various countries are given. Mercury in the oceans is discussed. A short discussion is given of the bioaccumulation of methylmercury in fish and crustaceans. Organic and methylmercury compounds are discussed and their impact on humans is briefly described. Minamata and Minamata disease are briefly reviewed. Practical aspects of detecting mercury in the environment by atomic fluorescence spectrometry are given.