CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP)- Mercury is toxic and dangerous to humans and other animals and it is all around us, including in your home and business. It is a naturally occurring heavy metal in the earth’s crust and is found in various forms, usually within compounds and inorganic salts.
Mercury is found in coal and coal burning plants are the largest source of mercury emissions created in the United States(Source: 2005 National Emissions Inventory). When it rains or snows the mercury falls to the earth and mixes with the soil and water. Certain types of microorganisms change it to methylmercury. This is a highly toxic compound that builds up in fish and shellfish and animals that eat fish, including humans.
Mercury is also found in compounds to create items we use in our daily lives such as thermometers, fluorescent bulbs, certain types of batteries, pharmaceuticals and household cleaners. It’s important to recognize these products in your home and to dispose of them properly to reduce polluting the environment.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Environmental Protection Agency have web sites with information on how to identify products with mercury and how to dispose of them.
For more information about the dangers of mercury, check out these links: