Mercury is a highly toxic element found in cinnabar ores through mining rarely found in earth’s crust found only about 0.08 parts per million (ppm). It is not found in the open nature. A shiny silver liquid metal. It is reddish granular and its liquidity is silver that is why it is traditionally called quicksilver. The chemical symbol for mercury is ‘Hg’. When it drops it breaks into tiny particles? while it evaporates at room temperature and become and becomes an invisible toxic vapor. It converts into gas when heated and is a poor conductor of heat.
Mercury founds its origin from Greeks and known before by China and India dated back to 2000 BCE. Historically, it was believed that mercury can prolong life, heal fractures and ailments. It was also used in cosmetics manufacturing, but because of its toxic nature. It can severely affect health. By the time of the industrial revolution, mercury was high in demand to use in explosives. In the early 1900s, it was mainly used for making equipment and recovering gold and silver.
Because of its high density and takes fewer space products at home such as a thermometer. Barometer and blood pressure device and mercury switches consist of elementary mercury. Because of the capability to expand it helps in measuring the temperature and pressure. Mercury is exported and imported. There is a huge market of mercury and red mercury buyers all over the world.
Elementary mercury is also used for medical purposes the dentists use it for dental fillings and to male liquid mirrors it is often found in women’s jewelry and cosmetics to lighten the skin and according to reports approximately the tested products had 6% of mercury at 1000ppm.
The Adverse Effects of Mercury
Humans consume mercury in different ways. Depending on how the mercury is being exposed to the body. It can harm the human organ system such as kidneys, spinal cord, and brain because it contains a neurotoxin. The number of factors involved in what form of mercury is being consumed by the body is the age of the person. And how often is the body being exposed?
Children and infants are highest at risk because of their vulnerability. Infants can also get affected inside the womb. And it can affect their mental and physical growth causing neurological disabilities and dimmish their physical capabilities.
In general, the human body is mostly exposed to methylmercury especially in people in the USA. At least every human around the world has traces of methylmercury in their body. It is usually found in fish.
The mercury toxins in the air settle into the body of lakes and seas or on the land. The microorganisms in the water body convert it into methylmercury. The intensity of the toxins depends on how much the sea life was exposed. And the living conditions of the fish.
Metallic mercury can also cause effects on the human body if it is spilled in the environment and toxins are absorbed in the body as vapors it can cause headaches, tremors, breathing problems poor mental and physical health disability of sensations.
Naturally, the mercury is emitted into the environment by forest and volcanic fires and disposal of wastes that are automobile parts bulbs, and medical products. One of the core reasons is waste emitted from the factories and the fossil fuel and burning coal industries. It emits the largest amount of toxins and around 42% mercury is emitted by them. The toxins of mercury are spread all over the world.
However, the major affected areas are the wetlands where there is more sea life. The toxins of the mercury dispersed in the air live for years and decades. The country which is more at risk is the USA. Other than that wildlife is also being severely affected and is at risk of contamination.
An Environment Clean-Up
A clean environment is essential for living and it. The emission of mercury has been disastrous to the environment. To protect the environment, you can opt for mercury-free products and look for alternatives that can be used. To eliminate the use of mercury, mercury mining and the use of mercury in gold mining should be stopped. Waste management is a crucial part find a proper way to dispose of the waste that contains mercury or its particles. Asia is the largest user of coal-fired power plants, which contaminates the environment and emits hazardous substances an alternate methods of power production should be installed to avoid environment’s destruction.