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Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution 2010

Part B - Mercury

image of Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution 2010
This is one part of a four-volume set that presents a state-of-the-science assessment of the intercontinental transport of air pollutants across the Northern Hemisphere. The first three volumes are technical assessments of the state-of-science with respect to intercontinental transport of ozone and particulate matter, mercury, and persistent organic pollutants. The fourth volume is a synthesis of the main findings and recommendations of Parts A, B, and C organized around a series of policy-relevant questions that were identified at the Task Force on Hemispheric Transport of Air Pollution’s first meeting.

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Impacts of intercontinental mercury transport on human & ecological health

Both humans and wildlife are adversely affected by exposures to multiple chemical forms of mercury. For all three forms of mercury (divalent mercury — HgII, elemental mercury — Hg0, and methylmercury — MeHg) the severity of health impacts varies with the intensity and duration of exposure (i.e., the dose). Adverse human health effects range from those detectable only with specialized testing protocols to gross, clinically evident abnormalities, as well as death [Clarkson and Magos, 2006]. High levels of MeHg exposure cause a variety of negative health effects in humans and wildlife, including kidney and liver failure, endocrine disruption, reproductive abnormalities, neurodevelopmental delays and compromised cardiovascular health in adults [Clarkson and Magos, 2006; Mergler et al., 2007; Sheuhammer et al., 2007; Tan et al., 2009].

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