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Istituto sull'inquinamento atmosferico

Torna all'elenco Contributi in rivista anno 2013

Contributo in rivista

Tipo: Articolo in rivista

Titolo: Toward the next generation of air quality monitoring: Mercury

Anno di pubblicazione: 2013

Formato: Elettronico

Autori: Pirrone N., Aas W., Cinnirella S., Ebinghaus R., Hedgecock I.M., Pacyna J., Sprovieri F., Sunderland E.

Affiliazioni autori: Pirrone N.: CNR-IIA; Aas W.: NILU-Norway; Cinnirella S.: CNR-IIA; Ebinghaus R.: HZG-Germany; Hedgecock I.M.: CNR-IIA; Pacyna J.:NILU-Norway; Sprovieri F.: CNR-IIA; Sunderland E.: Harward University;

Autori CNR:


Lingua: inglese

Abstract: Mercury is a global pollutant that is ubiquitous in the environment. Enrichment of mercury in the biosphere as the result of human activities and subsequent production of methylmercury (MeHg) has resulted in elevated concentrations infish, wildlife and marine mammals globally. Elemental mercury (Hg0) is the most common form of mercury in the atmosphere, and the form that is most readily transported long distances from its emission source. Most mercury deposition from the atmosphere is in the highly soluble, oxidised inorganic form HgII. Thus, understanding atmospheric transport and oxidant distribution is essential for understanding mercury inputs to ecosystems. Methylmercury (MeHg) is the most toxic form of mercury that accumulates in aquatic food web and can cause a variety of negative health effects such as long-term IQ deficits and cardiovascular impairment in xposed individuals. Humans are predominately exposed to MeHg by consuming fish. Hg0 emitted from anthropogenic sources has a long (6 monthse1 year) atmospheric residence time allowing it to be transported long distances in the atmosphere. It is eventually oxidised to the highly soluble HgII (likely by atomic Br and/or OH/O3) and rapidly deposited with precipitation. Some of the mercury deposited to terrestrial and marine ecosystems is converted to MeHg, which is the only form that bioaccumulates in aquatic food webs. Recent studies suggest that there is afirst-order relationship between the supply of inorganic mercury to ecosystems and production of MeHg, thus implying that declines in deposition will translate directly into reduced concentrations in biota and human exposures. However, one of the major uncertainties in this cycle is the time scale required for these changes to take place and this is known to vary from years to centuries across different environmental compartments depending on their physical and biogeochemical attributes. Thus, a key challenge in the case of mercury pollution is understanding the link between the magnitude of mercury emissions and the concentrations found in the fish that we consume. For air quality monitoring, priorities include expanding the existing data collection network and widening the scope of atmospheric mercury measurements (elemental, oxidised, and particulate species as well as mercury in precipitation). Presently, the only accurate indicators of mercury impacts on human and biological health are methylmercury concentrations in biota. However, recent advances in analytical techniques (stable mercury isotopes) and integrated modelling tools are allowing greater understanding of the relationship between atmospheric deposition, concentrations in water, methylation and uptake by biota. This article recommends an expansion of the current atmospheric monitoring network and the establishment of new coordinated measurements of total mercury and methylmercury concentrations in seawater and concurrent concentrations and trends in marinefish.

Lingua abstract: inglese

Pagine da: 599

Pagine a: 611


Atmospheric environment Pergamon.
Paese di pubblicazione: Regno Unito
Lingua: inglese
ISSN: 1352-2310

Numero volume: 80

DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2013.06.053

Referee: Sė: Internazionale

Stato della pubblicazione: Published version

Parole chiave:

  • Mercury
  • Global monitoring
  • New technologies
  • Air quality

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