Mercury Contamination

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Mercury Contamination – 7 September 2006

There’s an interesting article about mercury contamination in the latest issue of Time magazine. Well-known sources of this pollution are coal-fired power plants and chemical factories, and most people are aware that large fish are highly contaminated; but now there is growing concern about wetlands that hold very large stores of accumulated mercury from the atmosphere. This mercury has been converted by bacteria into methylmercury, a more toxic form that stays in the body longer. Wildfires, brought on by drought, can release many years’ worth of mercury (since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution); and droughts are thought to be increasing due to global warming.

Odorless toxic mercury vapor emissions come from factories and dumps from the manufacture or the discarding of mercury-containing products such as batteries, paints, electrical switches, jewelry….

The article also mentions that 178 songbirds have been found to have high levels of mercury from the insects that they feed on, and that mercury is now being found in other animals; among them are bats, mink, otters, panthers, and polar bears. This is a growing, world-wide problem.

Reading the article, I began to realize even more how there is a “domino effect” to environmental contamination and how consequences are cumulative long into the future. However, the article ended on a positive note: The mercury removed from circulation can be held in warehouses in special containers at under 70 degrees to prevent evaporation.

"Joyful Curmudgeon"
An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.

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