The long-awaited snow that fell over the weekend will not only pre-holiday mood, but deadly to all inhabitants of the Earth. Scientists have sounded the alarm: with precipitation falls incredible amount Mercury. And the most scary is that toxic metal can get into the food chain, and thus, to get on board to man.
A large amount of mercury contained in industrial emissions, resulting from fuel combustion. Atmospheric heavy metal is oxidized, so it can return to Earth along with precipitation. In the metabolism of microorganisms oxidized mercury is converted into highly toxic methylmercury, which by its toxic effect is many times greater than the metal itself. This chemical education can accumulate in the body and cause damage to the nervous system, as well as a terrible disease Minamata. Its main symptoms are easing of hearing and vision, disturbance of consciousness and paralysis. In severe cases, death occurs within a month.
"Mercury is carried for miles from the release point. For example, emissions from the burning of coal in Asia can circumnavigate the globe several times before the oxide, and then the rain and snow come down on Europe" — expressed their concerns Seth Lyman, head of research University of Washington, whose results are published today in the journal Nature.
The group of experts led by Lehman studied data from the probe during the two-month flight over Europe and North America in October — November. A special unit has been specially designed by engineers at Washington University. It can be defined as mercury oxidation and chemical element in its pure form in the same air sample. Every two and a half minutes the instrument captures the chemical composition at a height of 5 to 7 km, and in the streams coming down from the stratosphere.
The results showed that the oxidation takes place in the upper atmosphere. Due to this reaction, the mercury gets the opportunity to come back and get into the world ecosystem. Once the bacteria in the body, it gets a pass into the food chain and without obstacles gets into the human body.
Even not strong heavy metal poisoning can lead to serious consequences. Thus, biologists from the University of Florida found that mercury poisoning males of some species of birds stop to mate with females and begin to show some interest to the members of their own sex. But the main source of the toxin scientists call the fish and seafood.
A person subject to such an effect, no less than the birds. Experts warn fans of the Japanese diet fad of the potential danger raw fish, clams and shrimp.