Determination of Mercury in environmental waters using ICP-MS

Mercury is a well-known toxic element and considered as one of the top ten chemicals of public health concern by the World Health Organization. It is a neurotoxin that rapidly bioaccumulates and can cause major health problems, and even death, in small quantities. Chronic exposure at low levels is known to affect the nervous, digestive and immune systems as well as the lungs, kidneys and eyes with fetuses and breast feeding babies susceptible to developmental effects. Mercury is a naturally occurring element found in air, water and soil through volcanic activity. Although, human activity contributes significantly through the burning of coal, waste incineration, mining and other industrial uses, finding its way into the environment and eventually, into the food chain. It exists in various forms including the elemental or metallic form, the inorganic form as in mercury salts, and the organic form with methylmercury being the most toxic

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