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Mercury Pollution
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Mercury Pollution



Class project at Texas A&M University

Class project at Texas A&M University



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Mercury Pollution Mercury Pollution Presentation Transcript

  • Mercury Pollution Obianuju Ifesiokwu Cyril Iyasele December 7, 2010
  • Outline Introduction Mercury in the environment Exposure to mercury Effects of mercury on human health and environment Laws and regulations on mercury Remediation processes of mercury-contaminated sites Case Study  Minamata Mercury Pollution
  • Introduction
  • Introduction Mercury is the most hazardous metal for human health and environment Has high toxicity, volatility Tendency to bio-accumulate in human body Mercury is on the priority list of 129 chemical substances by US EPA
  • Introduction  Elemental mercury, although a metal, is unique since it is a liquid at normal temperature  Its high specific gravity and electrical conductivity, has brought about its widespread use in industries  Industrial facilities use mercury in their processes / products  chlor-alkali plants  thermometers, barometers, fluorescent light
  • Introduction Both inorganic and organic mercury can cause serious health effects Organic forms of mercury are generally more toxic than inorganic forms It is possible for inorganic mercury to be biologically transformed into organic mercury Therefore, it is important to control inorganic mercury leaching from mercury containing wastes
  • Introduction Inappropriate waste dumping during the early stages of industrialization resulted in mercury contamination in soil In Taiwan, spills, leaks and accidental discharges of mercury containing chemicals have contaminated soil at several sites Injuries by mercury toxicity have been observed in Japan, Iraq, Pakistan and NM of the United States
  • Mercury in the environment
  • Mercury In The Environment Sources of mercury emissions could be placed in three categories:  natural  anthropogenic  re-emitted sources Mercury re-emission is the remobilization of settled mercury
  • Mercury In The Environment Natural sources of mercury emission  Degassing from mercury mineral deposits  Degassing from mercury contaminated aquatic and terrestrial systems  Volcanic emissions  Forest fires
  • Mercury In The EnvironmentAnthropogenic sources of mercury emission Solid waste incineration (municipal and medical wastes) Coal and oil combustion Pyrometallurgical processes (iron, lead, and zinc) Production of mercury and goldAmong these sources, coal combustion and solid waste incinerationaccount for more than half of the total global emissions
  • Mercury In The Environment All over the world, other important industrial sources of mercury emissions into the environment include the manufacture of:  cement  electrical apparatus  pulp and paper  thermometers and fluorescent lamps In the United States, it is estimated that about 97% of total anthropogenic mercury emissions come from combustion and industrial sources
  • Exposure to mercury
  • Exposure To Mercury  Mercury in the air eventually settles into water or onto land where it can be washed into water  Once deposited, certain micro- organisms can change it into methylmercury  This highly toxic form of mercury builds up in fish, shellfish and animals that eat fish
  • Exposure To Mercury
  • Exposure To Mercury Methylmercury builds up more in some types of fish and shellfish than others The levels of methylmercury in fish and shellfish depend on  what they eat  how long they live  how high they are in the food chain Fish and shellfish are the main sources of methylmercury exposure to humans
  • Exposure To Mercury Another less common exposure to mercury that can be a concern is breathing mercury vapor These exposures can occur when elemental mercury or products that contain elemental mercury break and release mercury to the air Particularly in warm or poorly-ventilated indoor spaces
  • Effect of Mercury on Human Health & Environment
  • Effect of Mercury on HumanHealth & Environment Mercury exposure at high levels can harm the:  brain, heart  kidneys, lungs  immune system of people of all ages High levels of methylmercury in the bloodstream of unborn babies and young children may harm the developing nervous system Making the child less able to think and learn
  • Effect of Mercury on Human Health & Environment The factors that determine how severe the health effects are, from mercury exposure, include:  the chemical form of mercury  the dose  the age of the person exposed (the fetus is the most susceptible)  the duration of exposure  the route of exposure - inhalation, ingestion, dermal contact, etc  the health of the person exposed
  • Effect of Mercury on HumanHealth & EnvironmentEcological effects of mercury Birds and mammals that eat fish are more exposed to mercury than other animals in ecosystems Similarly, predators that eat fish-eating animals may be highly exposed At high levels of exposure, methylmercurys harmful effects on these animals include:  death, reduced reproduction  slower growth and development, and abnormal behavior
  • Effect of Mercury on HumanHealth & Environment
  • Effect of Mercury on HumanHealth & Environment EPA works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and with states and tribes to issue advice to women  who may become pregnant  pregnant women, nursing mothers  and parents of young children about how often they should eat certain types of commercially-caught fish and shellfish EPA releases an annual summary of information on locally-issued fish advisories and safe-eating guidelines to the public
  • Laws & Regulations on Mercury
  • Laws & Regulations on Mercury Laws and regulations are a major tool in protecting the environment Congress passes laws (statutes) that govern the United States To put those laws into effect, Congress authorizes certain government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to create and enforce regulations Regulations provide specific rules and details for how to put the law into practice
  • Laws & Regulations on Mercury Under certain Federal environmental statutes, such as the CAA, CWA, and RCRA,  EPA has the responsibility to develop regulations to control some mercury emissions to air, water, or from wastes and products  In addition, states also develop regulations to address mercury emissions
  • Laws & Regulations on MercuryMercury-Specific LawsMercury Export Ban Act of 2008 President George W. Bush signed into law the Mercury Export Ban Act of 2008 on October 14, 2008 The Act includes provisions on both mercury exports and long-term mercury management and storage U.S. is ranked one of the world‘s top exporters of mercury. Thus, implementation of the act will remove a significant amount of mercury from the global market
  • Laws & Regulations on MercuryMercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery ManagementAct of 1996 (Battery Act) The statute applies to battery and product manufacturers, battery waste handlers, and certain battery and product importers and retailers Phases out the use of mercury in batteries Provides for the efficient and cost-effective disposal of used:  nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries  small sealed lead-acid (SSLA) batteries  certain other regulated batteries
  • Laws & Regulations on MercuryOther Environmental Laws that Limit Mercury ExposuresClean Air Act The CAA regulates 188 air toxics, also known as ―hazardous air pollutants‖ Mercury is one of these air toxicsThe Clean Air Mercury Rule EPA regulated mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants
  • Laws & Regulations on MercuryClean Water Act Under the CWA, states adopt water quality standards for their rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands These standards identify levels for pollutants, including mercury, that must be met in order to protect human health, fish, and wildlifeResource Conservation and Recovery Act RCRA requires that EPA manage hazardous wastes, including mercury wastes, from the time they are generated, through storage and transportation, to their ultimate treatment and disposal
  • Laws & Regulations on MercurySafe Drinking Water Act Under the SDWA, EPA sets standards for drinking water that apply to public water systems These standards protect people by limiting levels of mercury and other contaminants in drinking water Mercury contamination in drinking water can come from:  erosion of natural deposits of mercury  discharges into water from refineries and factories  runoff from landfills
  • Remediation Processes ofMercury-Contaminated Sites
  • Remediation Processes ofMercury-Contaminated Sites Mercury is persistent in the environment Effective remedial methods need to be applied to lower mercury levels in heavily contaminated sitesIn general, four kinds of treatments of contaminated sediment areavailable: In situ containment In situ treatment Ex situ containment Ex situ treatment
  • Remediation Processes ofMercury-Contaminated Sites Thermal desorption  Usually, an ‗‗ex situ‖ remedial technology  Converts mercurial compounds into the volatile mercury  Considered as a preferred technology, due to more safety and less emission of treating substance Stabilization / Solidification Vitrification Soil flushing Soil washing
  • Remediation Processes ofMercury-Contaminated SitesCapping In situ capping (ISC) is on site placement of proper covering material over contaminated sediment in aquatic systems In ex situ capping (ESC), contaminated sediment is dredged and relocated to another site, where one or multiple isolating layers are placed over the sediment
  • Remediation Processes ofMercury-Contaminated Sites Source Control Dredging Natural Attenuation
  • Case Study
  • Case StudyMinamata Mercury Pollution Minamata - a fishing village in the south of Japan, on the Minamata bay, is the site of one of humanity‘s most tragic cases of industrial pollution It was caused by the release of methylmercury in the industrial wastewater from Chisso Corporations chemical factory
  • Case StudyRoot Cause Assessment of Impact of Minamata Symptoms of MinamataMinamata Pollution Pollution Disease Indiscriminate dumping of  Huge quantities of mercury General wastewater detected in fish, shellfish and  Muscle weakness sludge in Minamata bay Absence of wastewater  Damage to hearing, treatment facility  Stigmatization and vision and speech discrimination against  Crippling hands Economic clout of Chisso patients and feet Corporation  Dredging and reclamation done to remove the toxic Extreme Cases sludge from the Minamata  Paralysis bay  Coma  Death
  • Summary Introduction to mercury pollution Mercury in the environment Exposure to mercury Effects of mercury on human health and environment Laws and regulations on mercury Remediation processes of mercury-contaminated sites Case Study  Minamata Mercury Pollution
  • References Park, K.S., et al., 2007. Emission and speciation of mercury from various combustion sources. Powder Technology 180, 151-156. Yudovich, Ya.E, Ketris, M.P., 2005. Mercury in coal: a review Part 2. Coal use and environmental problems. Coal Geology 62, 135-165. Mukherjee, A.B., et al., 2004. Mercury in waste in the European Union: sources, disposal methods and risks. Resources Conservation and Recycling 42, 155-182. Randall, P, Chattopadhyay, S., 2004. Advances in encapsulation technologies for the management of mercury-contaminated hazardous wastes. Journal of Hazardous Materials B114, 211-223. Wasay, S.A., et al., 1995. Remediation of a soil polluted by mercury with acidic potassium iodide. Journal of Hazardous Materials 44, 93-102. Matlock, M.M., et al., 2003. Irreversible binding of mercury from contaminated soil. Advances in Environmental Research 7, 347-352. Yudovich, Ya.E, Ketris, M.P., 2005. Mercury in coal: a review Part 1. Geochemistry. Coal Geology 62, 107-134. Li, X.B., Feng, G.L., Qiu, L.H., Shang, Z.G., Li., 2009. Mercury pollution in Asia: A review of the contaminated sites. Journal of Hazardous Materials 168, 591-601. Kudo, A.Y., Fujikawa, S., Miyahara, J., Zheng, H., Takigami, M., Sugahara, T., Muramatsu., 1998. Lessons from minamata mercury pollution, Japan — After a continuous 22 years of observation. Water Science and Technology 38, 187-193. Nguyen, H. T., et al., 2008. Mercury in air in an area impacted by strong industrial activities. Chemosphere 71, 2017-2029. Harris, R. C., 1971. Ecological implication of mercury pollution in aquatic systems. Biological Conservation 3, 279-283. US EPA, 2010. <http://www.epa.gov/mercury/index.html>.
  • References Piao, H., Bishop, P.L., 2004. Stabilization of mercury-containing wastes using sulfide. Environmental Pollution 139, 498-506. Steven, M.J., 1995. The materials flow of mercury in the United States. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 15, 145-179. Wang, Q., Kim, D., Dionysiou, D.D., Sorial, G.A., Timberlake, D., 2004. Sources and remediation for mercury contamination in aquatic systems – a literature review. Environmental Pollution 131, 323-336. Chang, T.C, Yen, J.H., 2005. On-site mercury-contaminated soils remediation by using thermal desorption technology. Journal of Hazardous Materials B128, 208-217. Devasena, M., Nambi, I.M., 2010. Migration and entrapment of mercury in porous media. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 117, 60-70. Wasay, S.A., Anfalk, P., Tokunaga, S. 1995. Remediation of a soil polluted by mercury with acidic potassium iodide. Journal of Hazardous Materials 44, 93-102. Hylander, L.D, Goodsite, M.E., 2006. Environmental costs of mercury pollution. Science of the Total Environment 368, 352-370. Navarro, A., Canadas, I., Martinez, D., Rodriguez, J., Mendoza, J.L. 2009. Application of solar thermal desorption to remediation of mercury-contaminated soils. Solar Energy 83, 1405-1414. Pavlish, J.H., Hamre, L.L., Zhuang, J. 2010. Mercury control technologies for coal combustion and gasification systems. Fuel 89, 838-847. Chang, C.Y., Hsu, C.P., Jann, J.S., Chen, Y.W., Shih, Y.C., Mao, C.F., Lin, W.Y., Lin, K.L., Wu, Y.M., 1993. Stabilization of mercury- containing sludge by a combined process of two-stage pre-treatment and solidification. Journal of Hazardous Materials 35, 73-88.