Green Buckeye RN

Scientific American: World’s Ten Worst Toxic Pollution Problems (Slide Show)
November 15, 2011, 2:49 pm
Filed under: News

The price of gold affects more than global finances; it also drives the world’s most toxic pollution problem, according to new research from the Blacksmith Institute, an environmental health group based in New York City. Miners in countries from across Africa and Southeast Asia use mercury to separate the precious metal from the surrounding rock and silt. To then separate the resulting amalgam of gold and mercury, heat must be applied to vaporize the mercury. Typically, heating occurs over an open gas flame, releasing the potent neurotoxic element into the atmosphere. What’s more, the estimated 10 million to 20 million workers who mine for gold this way will all too often inhale the mercury, putting their health at profound risk.

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