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Mercury Pollution-Human Ecology

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Marcus Ellinas

on 16 May 2014

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Transcript of Mercury Pollution-Human Ecology

Most people don't know much about mercury pollution--or even just mercury at all. But this sneaky element creates many problems in modern society.
Where does mercury come from?
Mercury come primarily from coal-burning power plants. About 40% of all pollution in recent years is as a result of this energy source.
What does mercury do in the water?
Mercury settles into the sediments, which contain bacteria vital to mercury's process in becoming dangerous to humans.
Mercury becomes extremely dangerous to humans due to a a biological process known as biomagnification.
What are the effects of each type of mercury?
The three major types of mercury, elemental, organic, and inorganic, have differing but drastic effects on the human body, all which can lead to death in severe cases.
Mercury Pollution
What do you know?
How does mercury get into the water?
Piscivorous Birds
Large Fish
Small Fish
Producers (Phytoplankton)
Because of the body's need to keep equilibrium, humans bioaccumulate, or take on toxins faster then they can excrete or release them. Mercury can also be especially dangerous for pregnant women and their growing children.
What effects does mercury have on other animals?
All of the effects that mercury has on humans re fairly consistent with other animals. But some animals have specifically differing effects on certain aspects of their lives.
Why are we in danger?
Mercury is a very sneaky substance. It is not very often that it blatantly comes up and kills a person. So why are we in such danger?
Fish Advisories
Fish advisories are meant to push families not to eat fish every single day-- not meaning to eliminate fish from a diet altogether. Despite skeptics, the benefits of pregnant women following fish advisory guidelines are undeniable.
Alternative Energy
The introduction of modern energy sources instead of a constant burning of coal will decrease the amount of mercury in the environment significantly.
Mercury Disposal
Mercury is extremely volatile and dangerous when released into the atmosphere. Certain mercury-containing goods can become killers when incinerated or disposed of improperly.
Gold Mining
Previous ways to mine for gold that released mercury into the atmosphere had been abandoned by most countries. But in difficult economic times, some developing nations turned to a very dirty way to feed the gold rush.
In an acute case of mercury poisoning, the best course of action is to treat a patient with a chelating agent. These chemicals have saved many, many lives worldwide, and prevent mercury from bioaccumulating on a large scale in the human body.
The future for the world and preventing mercury pollution is bright. Steps are being taken to prevent the death of fish birds, humans, and other animals around the world, and enhance the health of this great planet and its people once again.
Minamata, Japan
Full transcript