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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/4307

Title: Evidence of mercury exposure in a particular low-income community in South Africa
Authors: Oosthuizen, MA
John, J
Somerset, V
Keywords: Mercury
Mercury exposure
Low-income communities
Energy
Coal
Coal combustion
Mercury pollution
Mercury emissions
Metallic mercury
Methylmercury
CSIR Conference 2010
Issue Date: 1-Sep-2010
Publisher: CSIR
Citation: Oosthuizen, MA, John, J and Somerset, V. 2010. Evidence of mercury exposure in a particular low-income community in South Africa. CSIR 3rd Biennial Conference 2010. Science Real and Relevant. CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa, 30 August – 01 September 2010, pp 1
Abstract: South Africa relies mainly on coal for its energy needs. In addition, the country is one of the main producers of gold. Both coal combustion and gold mining are sources of mercury pollution, contributing to South Africa being one of the leading countries in terms of mercury emissions to the environment. The human nervous system is very sensitive to mercury. When metallic mercury vapour in the air is inhaled, it may cross the blood-brain barrier and cause permanent brain damage (Figure 1). Bacteria in water and soil convert metallic mercury into methylmercury, which accumulates in the food chain, causing larger and older fish to have the highest concentrations. When people drink water or eat fish containing methylmercury, they may suffer permanent damage to the nervous system. The half-life of mercury in the human body is about two months.
Description: CSIR 3rd Biennial Conference 2010. Science Real and Relevant. CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa, 30 August – 01 September 2010
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10204/4307
Appears in Collections:CSIR Conference 2010
Pollution and waste
Environmental management
Human factors
General science, engineering & technology

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