Landfills Make Mercury More Toxic | Science News


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Landfills Make Mercury More Toxic

9:35am, July 3, 2001

Mercury, a nerve poison, is a major ingredient in many products–from thermometers and fluorescent bulbs to batteries and old latex paint. A new study finds that landfill disposal of such products can chemically alter the mercury in them, not only rendering it more toxic but also fostering its release into the air.

Although even mercury in its elemental form is toxic, its most poisonous embodiment is methyl mercury, the result of a chemical modification by bacteria (SN: 3/9/91, p. 152). The finding of such a process in landfills underscores the importance of ensuring that mercury doesn't enter the municip

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