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Growing concern about the risk associated with increasing environmental mercury (Hg) concentrations has resulted in a focus on the relationships between intercontinental emitted and accumulated Hg. We use a global biogeochemical Hg model with 8 continental regions and a global ocean to evaluate the legacy impacts of historical anthropogenic releases (2000BCE to 2008AD) on global source-receptor relationships of Hg. Legacy impacts of historical anthropogenic releases are confirmed to be significant on the source-receptor relationships according to our results. Historical anthropogenic releases from Asia account for 8% of total soil Hg in North America, which is smaller than the proportion (~17%) from previous studies. The largest contributors to the global oceanic Hg are historical anthropogenic releases from North America (26%), Asia (16%), Europe (14%) and South America (14%). Although anthropogenic releases from Asia have exceeded North America since the 1970s, source contributions to global Hg receptors from Asia have not exceeded North America so far. Future projections indicate that if Hg emissions are not effectively controlled, Asia will exceed North America as the largest contributor to the global ocean in 2019 and this has a long-term adverse impact on the future environment. For the Arctic Ocean, historical anthropogenic release from North America contributes most to the oceanic Hg reservoir and future projections reveal that the legacy impacts of historical releases from mid-latitudes would lead to the potential of rising Hg in the Arctic Ocean in the future decades, which calls for more effective Hg controls on mid-latitude releases.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: The Science of the total environment
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Stable mercury atoms that have the same atomic number as the element mercury, but differ in atomic weight. Hg-196, 198-201, and 204 are stable mercury isotopes.
Poisoning that results from chronic or acute ingestion, injection, inhalation, or skin absorption of MERCURY or MERCURY COMPOUNDS.
Unstable isotopes of mercury that decay or disintegrate emitting radiation. Hg atoms with atomic weights 185-195, 197, 203, 205, and 206 are radioactive mercury isotopes.
A silver metallic element that exists as a liquid at room temperature. It has the atomic symbol Hg (from hydrargyrum, liquid silver), atomic number 80, and atomic weight 200.59. Mercury is used in many industrial applications and its salts have been employed therapeutically as purgatives, antisyphilitics, disinfectants, and astringents. It can be absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes which leads to MERCURY POISONING. Because of its toxicity, the clinical use of mercury and mercurials is diminishing.
Increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth's surface and in the troposphere, which can contribute to changes in global climate patterns.