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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015 Jan;22(1):192-201. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-3544-x. Epub 2014 Sep 16.

Health risk and significance of mercury in the environment.

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Centre for Education in Environmental Sustainability and Department of Science and Environmental Studies, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, 10 Lo Ping Road, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong, SAR, China,


Mercury (Hg) has long been recognised as a global pollutant, because it can remain in the atmosphere for more than 1 year. The mercury that enters the environment is generally acknowledged to have two sources: natural and anthropogenic. Hg takes three major forms in the environment, namely methyl-Hg (MeHg), Hg(0) and Hg(2+). All three forms of Hg adversely affect the natural environment and pose a risk to human health. In particular, they may damage the human central nervous system, leading to cardiovascular, respiratory and other diseases. MeHg is bioavailable and can be bioaccumulated within food webs. Therefore, several methods of eliminating Hg from the soil and the aquatic system have been proposed. The focus of this article is on phytoremediation, as this technique provides a low-cost and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional methods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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