Mercury (Hg) has long been recognised as a global pollutant, because it can remain in the atmosphere for more than 1 year. The mercury that enters the environment is generally acknowledged to have two sources: natural and anthropogenic. Hg takes three major forms in the environment, namely methyl-Hg (MeHg), Hg⁰ and Hg²⁺. All three forms of Hg adversely affect the natural environment and pose a risk to human health. In particular, they may damage the human central nervous system, leading to cardiovascular, respiratory and other diseases. MeHg is bioavailable and can be bioaccumulated within food webs. Therefore, several methods of eliminating Hg from the soil and the aquatic system have been proposed. The focus of this article is on phytoremediation, as this technique provides a low-cost and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional methods. Copyright © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
CitationLi, W. C., & Tse, H. F. (2015). Health risk and significance of mercury in the environment. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 22(1), 192-201.
- Biogeochemical cycle