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Study shows mercury levels from products decreasing, though still at dangerous levels
Date:5/6/2008

bulbs. There is also controversy revolving around who should pay for the separate disposal of mercury containing switches and headlights removed from cars before they are crushed and recycled.

The study shows that in 2000, mercury releases caused by mercury-containing products accounted for an estimated 32 percent of mercury releases to air, 2 percent of mercury releases to land, and 4 percent of mercury releases to water. Significant sources of mercury releases include emissions from steel furnaces because of mercury containing devices in autos and other scrapped equipment, from transport and storage of waste because of broken mercury equipment, from cremations because of the mercury contained in dental amalgam used for tooth fillings, and from burn barrels used for trash disposal in rural areas.

The model can be used as a predictive tool to evaluate the potential impact of measures to reduce the use of mercury, to improve the management of mercury wastes or to reduce mercury releases through the installation of mercury control technologies.

Reductions in the mercury content of some products, along with mercury emissions limitations imposed on municipal and medical incinerators, have resulted in significant reductions in mercury releases, says Cain. Estimated mercury releases to air and land caused by mercury-containing products decreased an estimated 88 percent from 1990 to 2005, and estimated water releases decreased 83 percent.


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Contact: Sean Wagner
swagner@wiley.com
781-388-8550
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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