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  Use and Release of Mercury in the United States (EPA/600/R-02/104) December 2002

Although its use is decreasing in the United States, mercury continues to pose a serious risk to human health and the environment. This report presents the results of a two-year effort sponsored by EPA's Office of Research and Development to quantify and map the flow of mercury as it moves through the economy and is released into the environment. Data contained in the report are intended to help prioritize research and development efforts.

Using a materials flow analysis, this report quantifies mercury use, reuse, release, and disposal associated with products and processes. Among the 100 data sources examined were industry estimates, government statistics, literature sources, and EPA data, such as the Toxics Release Inventory and emission factors.

Specific industries and sectors within the following major divisions were evaluated: mercury supply, mercury use in manufacturing processes, incidental mercury use associated with coal combustion and noncoal sources, and other sources of mercury resulting from previous use. For each sector, mercury use is described, mercury-containing raw materials and products are catalogued, and mercury releases into media (air, water, and solid waste) are quantified and reported.


Kenneth Stone

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Office of Research & Development | National Risk Management Research Laboratory

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