Mercury (chemical symbol Hg) is a heavy metal occurring on earth in various forms. It can be converted from one form to another by natural processes, and, once released, actively cycles in the environment for hundreds to thousands of years before being buried in sediment. It is well known for being the only metal that is liquid at room temperature and normal pressure. Mercury is also a potent neurotoxin with severe global human health impacts. This In-Depth Report from Science for Environment Policy summarises the latest scientific studies and research results on mercury pollution in the global environment.
Of the many aspects of mercury pollution, five main topics are addressed:
- Mercury sources and impacts
- Mercury cycling: movement and deposition
- Monitoring and modelling approaches
- Reduction, treatment and storage
- The Minamata Convention on Mercury and the EU mercury policy