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Many types of chemical pollutants biomagnify across the food chain and reach their highest levels in predators such as kestrels. In urban and suburban environments, kestrels are also being exposed to non-chemical pollutants (e.g. electromagnetic fields, light and noise pollution), which are becoming a growing concern. This chapter summarises the ways through which a range of chemical and non-chemical pollutants may influence the behaviour, physiology and reproduction of kestrels, and describes how patterns of population recovery have followed the control and withdrawal of some chemical pollutants.
Tetrahedrite-(Hg), Cu6(Cu4Hg2)Sb4S13, has been approved as a new mineral species using samples from Buca della Vena mine (hereafter BdV), Italy, Jedová hora (Jh), Czech Republic and Rožňava (R), Slovakia. It occurs as anhedral grains or as tetrahedral crystals, black in colour, with metallic lustre. At BdV it is associated with cinnabar and chalcostibite in dolomite veins. At Jh, tetrahedrite-(Hg) is associated with baryte and chalcopyrite in quartz–siderite–dolomite veins; at R it is associated with quartz in siderite–quartz veins. Tetrahedrite-(Hg) is isotropic, greyish-white in colour, with creamy tints. Minimum and maximum reflectance data for Commission on Ore Mineralogy wavelengths in air (BdV sample), R in %) are 32.5 at 420 nm; 32.9 at 546 nm; 33.2 at 589 nm; and 30.9 at 650 nm. Chemical formulae of the samples studied, recalculated on the basis of 4 (As + Sb + Bi) atoms per formula unit, are: (Cu9.44Ag0.07)Σ9.51(Hg1.64Zn0.36Fe0.06)Σ2.06Sb4(S12.69Se0.01)Σ12.70 (BdV), Cu9.69(Hg1.75Fe0.25Zn0.06)Σ2.06(Sb3.94As0.06)S12.87 (Jh) and (Cu9.76Ag0.04) Σ9.80(Hg1.83Fe0.15Zn0.10)Σ2.08(Sb3.17As0.58Bi0.25)S13.01 (R). Tetrahedrite-(Hg) is cubic, I$\overline 4 $3m, with a = 10.5057(8) Å, V = 1159.5(3) Å3 and Z = 2 (BdV). Unit-cell parameters for the other two samples are a = 10.4939(1) Å and V = 1155.61(5) Å3 (Jh) and a = 10.4725(1) Å and V = 1148.55(6) Å3 (R). The crystal structure of tetrahedrite-(Hg) has been refined by single-crystal X-ray diffraction data to a final R1 = 0.019 on the basis of 335 reflections with Fo > 4σ(Fo) and 20 refined parameters. Tetrahedrite-(Hg) is isotypic with other members of the tetrahedrite group. Mercury is hosted at the tetrahedrally coordinated M(1) site, along with minor Zn and Fe. The occurrence of Hg at this position agrees both with the relatively large M(1)–S(1) bond distance (2.393 Å) and the refined site scattering. Previous occurrences of Hg-rich tetrahedrite and tetrahedrite-(Hg) are reviewed, and its relations with other Hg sulfosalts are discussed.
Prenatal exposure to mercury in utero causes abnormal foetal growth and adverse outcomes. DNA methylation is currently considered a possible mechanism through which this occurs. However, few studies have investigated the association between prenatal exposure to mercury and DNA methylation in detail. This study aimed to clarify the relationship between prenatal exposure to total mercury (Hg) and DNA methylation and its associations with sex-specific characteristics in male and female offspring. In a birth cohort study known as the Chiba study of Mother and Child Health, the DNA methylation status in cord tissue and Hg concentrations in cord serum were examined. A total of 67 participants (27 males and 40 females) were analysed based on Spearmanʼs correlations, adjusted by a false discovery rate of the sex of each offspring. Only one methylated locus was positively correlated with Hg concentrations in cord serum in male offspring, but not in female offspring, and was annotated to the haloacid dehalogenase-like hydrolase domain-containing protein 1 (HDHD1) gene on chromosome X. This locus was located in the intron of the HDHD1 gene body and is a binding site for the zinc finger protein CCCTC-binding factor. One of the other loci, located in HDHD1, was highly methylated in the group with higher mercury concentrations, and this locus was in the gene body of HDHD1. Our results suggest that prenatal exposure to Hg might affect the epigenetic status of male foetuses.
The complex processes that underlie normal nervous system development are known to be extremely vulnerable to perturbation by chemicals that are present in the human environment, either naturally or as a result of human activities. These processes include neurogenesis, differentiation and migration of neurons, myelination, and synaptogenesis. Children are generally at greater risk than adults of suffering adversities from chemical exposures because of their physiology and behavior. As a result, reductions in cognitive function, including intelligence, are among the most important effects of such exposures. This chapter surveys the harmful impacts on children’s brains and cognition of certain chemicals and chemical classes, including mercury, lead, organophosphate pesticides, air pollution, synthetic organic compounds (e.g., flame retardants, plastics), and compounds that disrupt the endocrine system. The final section illustrates how an exposure that causes relatively modest cognitive morbidity in an individual can nevertheless, if highly prevalent as many chemical exposures are, contribute substantially to the burden of disease at the population level.
The stable isotope ratios of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) and total mercury concentrations (THg) of the three marine catfish species Aspistor luniscutis, Bagre bagre and Genidens genidens were evaluated to understand their trophic relationship in northern Rio de Janeiro state, south-eastern Brazil. The δ13C was similar among the three marine catfishes, whereas δ15N was similar in A. luniscutis and B. bagre and lower in G. genidens. THg was higher in G. genidens and lower in B. bagre. The greater assimilation of Sciaenidae fishes and squids by A. luniscutis and B. bagre resulted in smaller isotopic niche areas and trophic diversity but higher isotopic niche overlap, trophic redundancy and evenness. For G. genidens, the similar assimilation of all prey items resulted in the broadest isotopic niche among the marine catfishes. The higher mercury content in G. genidens is consistent with an increased important contribution of prey with a higher Hg burden. The bioaccumulation process was indicated by significant correlations of δ15N and THg with total length and total mass. Additionally, a significant correlation between THg and δ15N reflected the biomagnification process through the food web.
This chapter provides a brief review of missions using X-ray, gamma-ray, and neutron spectroscopy to determine the chemical composition of planetary surfaces. This chapter presents the history of planetary radiation measurements, including significant discoveries. Summary tables with links to the archived data provide a resource for readers interested in working in this field. Upcoming missions and possible future directions are described.
An ever-increasing number of laboratory facilities are enabling in situ spectral reflectance measurements of materials under conditions relevant to all the bodies in the Solar System, from Mercury to Pluto and beyond. Results derived from these facilities demonstrate that exposure of different materials to various planetary surface conditions can provide insights into the endogenic and exogenic processes that operate to modify their surface spectra, and their relative importance. Temperature, surface atmospheric pressure, atmospheric composition, radiation environment, and exposure to the space environment have all been shown to measurably affect reflectance and emittance spectra of a wide range of materials. Planetary surfaces are dynamic environments, and as our ability to reproduce a wider range of planetary surface conditions improves, so will our ability to better determine the surface composition of these bodies, and by extension, their geologic history.
Space missions have shown that most terrestrial bodies have an internally generated magnetic field in their metallic core and/or a crustal field due to remanent magnetism. The latter indicates the presence of an old dynamo at the time of crust formation. Information on the two together helps to uncover the body’s magnetic field history, and it is generally accepted that convection flows driven by thermal or compositional buoyancy in the cores are the most likely source for maintaining global planetary magnetic fields. The convection flow in the core, in turn, is closely related to the interior dynamics of the mantles above and the thermal evolution of the body. This chapter describes the mechanisms for dynamo generation either by thermal or compositional convection in the core. It discusses the magnetic field evolution of Mercury, Moon, Mars, Ganymede, and planetesimals and will also address the possibility of dynamo generation in rocky exoplanets
Organic mercury, especially methylmercury, poisoning causes chronic neurological disease predominantly affecting the brain. There have been documented exposures from eating fish from contaminated waters in Japan and in northwestern Ontario and in Iraq from eating bread made from seed wheat treated with methylmercuric fungicide. The neurological disease is called Minamata disease in Japan. Visual field constriction due to involvement of the calcarine cortex, sensory disturbance due to involvement of the somatosensory cortex, and cerebellar ataxia due to involvement of granule cell neurons of the cerebellum are common and characteristic features due to methylmercury poisoning. Other neurological features include dysarthria, postural and action tremor, cognitive impairment, and hearing loss and dysequilibrium. In contrast, peripheral nerve disease is more characteristic of inorganic mercury intoxication. Similarly, psychosis is more typical of exposure to inorganic mercury, which has been documented in the felt hat industry (“mad hatter”). Laboratory tests (e.g., on blood and hair and toenail samples) are of limited value in the assessment of chronic neurological disease due to mercury poisoning because they may not reflect remote neuronal injury due to mercury. Methylmercury also causes injury to fetal brains during development. There is no effective treatment.
Structural data for weishanite, an alloy of Au, Ag and Hg, were collected for the first time from a crystal from the Keystone Mine, Colorado, USA. The structure was solved in the space group P63/mmc with the unit cell a = 2.9348(8) and c = 4.8215(18) Å] and refined to R = 0.0299 for 40 observed reflections [4σ(F) level] and four parameters and to R = 0.0356 for all 47 independent reflections. The weishanite structure can be considered a derivative of the zinc structure, with Au, Ag and Hg disordered in the same structural position. On this basis, we suggest that the formula is normalized to 1 atom with Z = 2, leading, for the sample investigated, to Au0.41Ag0.31Hg0.28 (electron microprobe data). Accordingly, weishanite can be considered the Au-rich isotype of schachnerite. A comparison with other Au/Ag-Hg alloys is presented together with a critical discussion about the nomenclature rules to be applied to alloys and simple metals.
Public health messages to reduce Hg exposure for pregnant women have focused exclusively on advice on fish consumption to limit Hg exposure, with little account being taken of the positive contribution of fish to nutritional quality. The aim of the present review was to compare and contrast the content and presentation of national guidelines on fish consumption in pregnancy, and comment on their evidence base and impact on consumption.
We searched for national and international guidelines on fish consumption in pregnancy using Internet search strategies. The detailed content and style of presentation of the guidelines were compared. The evidence base for the guidelines, and evidence for the impact of the guidelines on fish consumption levels, were assessed.
We identified nineteen national guidelines and three international guidelines. There was great variation in the content, complexity and presentation style. The guidelines were based largely on the Hg content of fish with far less consideration being given to the positive beneficial effects of nutrients provided by fish. The complexity of the guidelines may lead to pregnant women reducing their fish intake, or not eating fish at all.
Guidelines on fish consumption in pregnancy should take the beneficial effects of fish into account. Guidelines need to be clear and memorable, and appropriately disseminated, to achieve impact. Guidelines could include visual rather than narrative content. Use of technology, for example apps, could enable women to record their fish consumption in real time and log compliance with guidance over a week or other time period.
Over the last decade, the Antarctic continent has been the object of intensive scientific programmes. However, the emphasis of these studies rarely focuses on the Antarctic as a source of potential elements such as mercury. The release of mercury to the environment is known to occur at Deception Island, associated with volcanic activity. In this study, a 3D hydrodynamic model was used to assess the role of water circulation on the dispersion of released mercury. Sea level variation and tidal circulation data were obtained. Residence time was calculated using two different approaches. Internal tide generation in summer and winter were recognized and the barotropic tidal components obtained. Lagrangian tracers were used to depict particle circulation (simulating particulate mercury) in a three month summer simulation for barotropic and baroclinic conditions. The results show that particles accumulate in the northern and western parts of the bay. It is acknowledged that the results of the 3D model are associated with a non-negligible uncertainty, which can only be reduced with an ongoing commitment to monitoring. The findings of this study indicate that mercury accumulation is occurring in Port Foster (Deception Island), which is a potential threat to the local ecosystem.
Humans who eat fish are exposed to mixtures of healthful nutrients and harmful contaminants that are influenced by environmental and ecological factors. Marine fisheries are composed of a multitude of species with varying life histories, and harvested in oceans, coastal waters and estuaries where environmental and ecological conditions determine fish exposure to both nutrients and contaminants. Many of these nutrients and contaminants are thought to influence similar health outcomes (i.e., neurological, cardiovascular, immunological systems). Therefore, our understanding of the risks and benefits of consuming seafood require balanced assessments of contaminants and nutrients found in fish and shellfish. In this paper, we review some of the reported benefits of fish consumption with a focus on the potential hazards of mercury exposure, and compare the environmental variability of fish oils, selenium and mercury in fish. A major scientific gap identified is that fish tissue concentrations are rarely measured for both contaminants and nutrients across a range of species and geographic regions. Interpreting the implications of seafood for human health will require a better understanding of these multiple exposures, particularly as environmental conditions in the oceans change.
Strata of Permian – Early Triassic age that include a record of three major extinction events (Capitanian Crisis, Latest Permian Extinction and the Smithian/Spathian Extinction) were examined at the Festningen section, Spitsbergen. Over the c. 12 Ma record examined, mercury in the sediments shows relatively constant background values of 0.005–0.010 μg g–1. However, there are notable spikes in Hg concentration over an order of magnitude above background associated with the three extinctions. The Hg/total organic carbon (TOC) ratio shows similar large spikes, indicating that they represent a true increase in Hg loading to the environment. We argue that these represent Hg loading events associated with enhanced Hg emissions from large igneous province (LIP) events that are synchronous with the extinctions. The Hg anomalies are consistent across the NW margin of Pangea, indicating that widespread mercury loading occurred. While this provides utility as a chemostratigraphic marker the Hg spikes may also indicate loading of toxic metals to the environment, a contributing cause to the mass extinction events.
Polar regions represent a unique environment for the study of mercury cycling in the global ecosystem. Our research was focused on the assessment of the origin and mobility of mercury in the geochemical cycle in Maritime Antarctic (James Ross Island) by means of atomic absorption spectrometry. Mercury content in a set of extrusive (subaerial, subaqueous) and intrusive (dyke) alkaline basalts ranged between 1.6 µg kg-1 (for samples without xenoliths) and 8 µg kg-1 (for samples containing crustal xenoliths). The mercury content in alkaline basalts indicates a very low concentration of mercury in peridotitic mantle sources. Samples of regolith from James Ross Island were subjected to a comprehensive analytical procedure proposed for ultra-trace mercury concentrations involving fractionation and thermal analysis. Total mercury contents in regolith (2.7–11.3 µg kg-1) did not deviate from the natural background in this part of Antarctica. Additionally, the obtained results are about two orders of magnitude smaller than values formerly assumed for primary mercury contents in basaltic lavas. Our results from Antarctica were compared with mercury contents in basaltic rocks from Greenland and the findings were confirmed. It seems that the input of mercury of geological origin into the polar ecosystem is apparently lower than expected.