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The toxic scourge of mercury

May 24, 2018

(Credit: Greentec)

Cambridge, Ontario-based company, Greentec, securely disposes of and recycles used electronics and IT equipment to help lessen their environmental impact.

One of the reasons for the importance of such recycling of electronical equipment is the effect it can have when broken and discarded, causing toxic chemicals such as mercury to leach into the ecosystem.

As an article published in the Journal of Preventive Medicine & Public Health reveals, mercury, which exists both naturally in the environment and as a man-made substance, can have a detrimental impact on both the natural world and human health.

Processed mercury, released into the environment – for example, through discarded lamps and fluorescent bulbs sent to landfill, which Greentec works to recycle – “can lead to a progressive increase in the amount of atmospheric mercury, which enters the atmospheric-soil-water distribution cycles where it can remain in circulation for years.”

Most human mercury contamination comes as a result of ingesting “contaminated fish, seafood and wildlife” which have in their turn been exposed to mercury by eating “contaminated lower organisms.”

Mercury, which has a third-place ranking on the US Government Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, causes a range of severe and life-threatening health problems for both animals and humans; these consist of “profound cellular, cardiovascular, haematological, pulmonary, renal, immunological, neurological, endocrine, reproductive, and embryonic toxicological effects.”

This shocking laundry list of health problems serves as a reiteration of the importance of recycling products that contain mercury, using environmental services such as Greentec.

 

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