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Sci Total Environ. 2000 Oct 2;259(1-3):73-83.

Assessment of atmospheric mercury emissions in Finland

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Department of Limnology and Environmental Protection, University of Helsinki, Finland.


This paper is part of the study of atmospheric emissions of heavy metals conducted by the Finnish Environment Institute in collaboration with the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) under the umbrella of the Finnish Ministry of the Environment. The scope of our study is limited solely to anthropogenic mercury that is emitted directly to the atmosphere. This article addresses emission factors and trends of atmospheric mercury emissions during the 1990s and is based mainly on the database of the Finnish Environmental Administration. In addition, data based on the measurements taken by the VTT regarding emission factors have been used to estimate emissions of mercury from the incineration of waste. The study indicates that the total emission of mercury has decreased from 1140 kg in 1990 to 620 kg in 1997, while industrial and energy production have been on the increase simultaneously. The 45% emission reduction is due to improved gas cleaning equipment, process changes, automation, the installation of flue gas desulfurization process in coal-fired power plants and strict pollution control laws. In the past, some authors have estimated a higher mercury emission in Finland. In this study, it is also observed that there are no big changes in the quality of raw materials. Estimated emission factors can be of great help to management for estimating mercury emissions and also its risk assessment.

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