Teledyne Leeman Labs Blog

Part IV – Gold Rush: Mercury Exposure and the Human Body - Varying Risks

Posted by Jason Davis on Nov 21, 2014 9:47:37 AM

Part IV - Gold Rush Series

In part three of our Mercury blog series, we focused on the different types of Mercury. In part four, we will cover the effects of mercury on the human body.

As was described in part two of our series, mercury is a metal that is used in a variety of consumer products, from light bulbs to thermometers. While it is beneficial and useful for these applications, it is poisonous and can harm the environment, as well as any animals and humans that are exposed to it.

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Tags: mercury

Part II – Gold Rush: What is Mercury?

Posted by Jason Davis on Nov 4, 2014 3:30:00 PM

Part II – Gold Rush: What is Mercury?

Having taken a look at Gold Rush era mercury use and its modern consequences in our last blog it only seems logical to discuss what mercury is and why it poses such great human health risks.  Because mercury and its associated risks is a broad topic, part three of our series on mercury will only look at mercury’s most well known forms.

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Tags: mercury

Part II – Gold Rush: What is Mercury?

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Nov 3, 2014 5:37:05 PM

Having taken a look at Gold Rush era mercury use and its modern consequences in our last blog it only seems logical to discuss what mercury is and why it poses such great human health risks.  Because mercury and its associated risks is a broad topic, part three of our series on mercury will only look at mercury’s most well known forms.

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Tags: mercury

Part III – Gold Rush: Mercury and its Various Forms

Posted by Jason Davis on Oct 28, 2014 2:04:00 PM

Part III – Gold Rush: Mercury and its Various Forms

In part two of our Mercury blog post, we described Mercury and provided some initial details on the various forms of the element. In this post, we will go into more detail elemental, inorganic and organic forms of mercury.

Elemental Mercury

Mercury in elemental form is a silver-colored liquid that remains liquid at room temperature. Inorganic mercury is mined and processed to generate elemental mercury[i]. It is poorly absorbed by ingestion and contact with skin, and ingested elemental mercury is not absorbed in significant quantities[ii]. Because elemental mercury is absorbed slowly, a majority of it passes the digestive system without doing significant harm.

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Tags: mercury

Mercury Contamination Causing Major Health Problems in Birds - Need for Mercury analysis in water and food

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Oct 1, 2014 2:08:12 PM

Recently more 750 scientists from around the world gathered at the Animal Behavior Society meeting at Princeton University. They gathered to discuss… you guessed it… animals; all kinds of animals, from fish to birds. Among the topics of discussions was the impact of liquid metal mercury, even small doses, on the animal kingdom, particularly in birds. In humans, large doses of mercury can cause lethargy and depression, while smaller amounts can lead to dementia. In animals that are much smaller, the impact can be even more significant.

Researchers at the College of William and Mary conducted an experiment where they exposed zebra finches to mercury levels consistent with a contaminated environment. Rather than lethargy or depression, the finches exhibited symptoms more on the side of dementia. The birds were “bolder and hyperactive,” and “spent less time feeding” compared with birds that had not been exposed to the metal. Because of this behavior, the finches could be at risk of increased predation. Unfortunately, they discovered some other disturbing trends.

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Tags: Hg analysis, mercury

Do Cavities Contribute to Mercury Pollution?

Posted by Betsey Seibel on Sep 29, 2014 7:46:00 PM

Where does roughly half of all mercury that enters public water treatment systems come from?

If you answered dental offices, you would be correct.

According the U.S. Environment Protection Agency 120,000 dental offices use or dispose of amalgam fillings, which contain a mixture of mercury and other metals used in dental fillings.  Most of these offices are attached to public sewer systems. The amalgam waste is flushed at the point-of-care down chair-side drains. When the amalgam is discharged into the sewer systems, it can be transformed into methylmercury, which is a highly toxic neurotoxin that impairs brain and nervous system development and function. Methylmercury can build up in fish, shellfish and fish-eating animals, which can be harmful to humans who consume the fish.

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Tags: Hg analysis, mercury

Mercury Analysis, Which Technique is right for you?

Posted by David Pfeil on Feb 10, 2012 3:31:00 PM

Analytical techniques for measuring mercury include cold vapor atomic absorption spectroscopy (CVAA), cold vapor atomic fluorescence spectroscopy (CVAF), and direct analysis by thermal decomposition.  Each technique has advantages and disadvantages, I'll review each technique and provide tips for choosing the right one for various situations.

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Tags: CVAA, CVAF, Hg analysis, low level mercury, mercury, mercury analysis

How to select the Hg technique for your analytical needs (Part I)

Posted by David Pfeil on Feb 10, 2012 1:30:00 PM

 

Selecting the right Hg technique really depends on your analytical needs. For some labs, the decision will be driven solely by the need to comply with a specific regulatory method. For example, if your lab is required to analyze samples using EPA Method 245.1, then you will need to use the technique of cold vapor atomic absorption spectroscopy (CVAAS). If you are required to follow specific regulatory methods, you may find the following information helpful.

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Tags: CVAA, CVAF, Hg analysis, low level mercury, mercury, mercury analysis, thermal decomposition