Mercury Testing in Water – Is Your Water Safe?

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When you test your water for mercury, you can see if it is at safe levels. Mercury levels vary, but they are typically below the MCL. You may also have higher levels in your water than in other areas.

Hg is a naturally occurring mineral, which means that it can be detected in H20 sources. Using a Hg test kit is the easiest way to determine if your H20 is safe. Listed below are some tips for Hg testing.

Methods

There are several methods of Hg testing in H20, which you can choose depending on the contaminants you’re trying to assess. Some Hg testing methods are applicable to surface H20s while others are not. For example, the EPA’s Selected Analytical Methods for Environmental Remediation and Recovery list four methods of Hg analysis. Here is a quick overview of some of them.

Carryover tests: These methods measure the amount of Hg carried over from one sample to another. Carryover occurs when Hg concentrations in the sample exceed the EPA’s 0.2 ng/L limit. To ensure a clean analysis, run a blank sample after the high Hg sample. In addition, the EPA notes that the carryover test standard is inappropriate. A measurement below that level would be unreliable.

Surface H20 samples: Hg in surface H20 samples is converted to potassium tetraiodomercurate. Then, potassium iodide solution is added to the H20 sample, which is then filtered through filter paper with a 5-um pore diameter. Stirring the mixture ensures that the Hg complexes with the iodide. The solution is then introduced to an isotachophoresis apparatus.

MCL

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA is required to set the MCL for mercury testing in drinking water, a level of protection for the public. The MCLGs are set based on possible health risks.

The EPA has set the MCL for mercury at two parts per billion, stating that this level will not cause any serious health effects. However, many scientists believe that a higher level is necessary to protect human health.

Public water providers may be required to issue Consumer Confidence Reports to their customers, containing the most recent results. While these reports do not include the level of mercury, they are helpful in determining whether the water is safe to drink. In addition to the MCL for mercury, a private well owner can also use these results to determine the best course of action.

The EPA conducted studies with various federal, state, and non-government organizations to identify the optimal concentration level for mercury. The studies also provide data on mercury and other chemicals found in fish tissues. The EPA also recommends comparing the MCL with the actual levels in the water. However, the MCL for mercury testing in water can differ from the EPA’s recommendations. For instance, some states have lower levels than others.

Sources

Hg is found in H20 at various levels. In most areas, it comes from coal combustion and industrial waste disposal. Hg is then converted into the biologically-toxic form methylHg by microorganisms and can be ingested or absorbed by touch.

Each exposure builds up levels in the body, and it is difficult to remove Hg from the body once it is in the system. Hg poisoning is unpleasant and can be fatal.

While current efforts to minimize the human exposure to Hg in the environment focus on rapidly reducing emissions, better quantitative studies are needed to determine the response time of ecosystems to different levels of Hg.

As these studies reveal, Hg accumulation in fish is correlated with H20 level fluctuations and WL fluctuation, which means that H20 levels in large lakes should be regulated to limit the risk of Hg contamination to humans.

Ultimately, it is up to the government to regulate H20 levels to ensure that they are suitable for the ecosystem and are not detrimental to the environment.

Symptoms

If you suspect your home H20 supplies contain Hg, you should contact your local health department to determine what steps to take to reduce the level in your H20. Click the link: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mercury-and-health for more information about the side effects of mercury on the human body. There are a number of different treatment methods, including reverse osmosis, coagulation/filtration, and lime softening.
Public water companies must follow certain regulations, including providing Consumer Confidence Reports to consumers to provide them with information about the quality of their water.

Acute exposure to mercury should be treated with medical care as soon as possible. Waiting too long to seek a confirmatory test could lead to irreversible damage. To treat acute mercury poisoning, early consultation with poison control professionals is advisable.

Large exposures may also require notification of city and state toxin control staff. Symptoms of mercury poisoning may vary from person to person, and treatment depends on the severity of exposure.

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