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  Proceedings and Summary Report, Workshop on Mercury in Products, Processes, Waste and the Environment: Eliminating, Reducing, and Managing Risks From Non-Combustion Sources (125 pp, 864 KB) (EPA/625/R-00/014) June 2001

Nationally and internationally, mercury contamination has long been recognized as a growing problem for humans and ecosystems because mercury does not degrade to simpler compounds. Once it is released to the environment, it will always be present in one form or another.

Mercury is released to the environment from a variety of human (anthropogenic) sources:

  • Plant effluent discharge
  • Fossil fuel combustion containing trace amounts of mercury
  • Incinerators
  • Chlor-alkali plants
  • Mining
  • Landfills
  • Industrial processes
  • Disposal of products containing mercury
  • Municipal incineration
  • Medical waste incineration

These emission sources represent a significant contribution to the total mercury released (including natural and reemitted) in the United States.

A workshop, held March 22–23, 2000, in Baltimore, Maryland, combined a series of presentations at plenary sessions, moderated technical sessions, and panel discussions. The topics focused on treatment and disposal technologies, stockpile management and prevention, and collection and elimination programs.

Presenters were from EPA, the Department of Energy, state agencies, industry, academia, technology developers, equipment manufacturers, consulting firms, and international organizations. The presentations were followed by two panel discussions. The first addressed treatment and disposal of mercury-contaminated wastes. The second addressed prevention, collection, and elimination issues.

This report provides a discussion of the overarching issues in mercury treatment, disposal, prevention, collection, and elimination. It includes a summary of the panel discussions.


Douglas Grosse

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