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Mercury Sources and Health

Cycling through both natural and anthropogenic activities, mercury is a persistent substance found globally within the environment. Mercury vapor is the primary form found in the atmosphere. It is released through the weathering of rock that contains mercury ore, the combustion of fossil fuels, and the incineration of waste. Once released, this airborne pollutant can travel long distances to significantly affect the environment and human health. Removed from the atmosphere by precipitation and dry deposit, mercury can be transported to land and water where it undergoes a series of complex chemical transformations. This conversion of inorganic mercury to its methylated, organic form occurs primarily in micro aquatic species, where it can bioaccumulate in the food chain.

Due to its diverse properties, mercury serves an important role ...

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