Mercury emissions dropping in North America, Europe: study

EDMONTON - New research suggests emissions of mercury have been dropping for more than two decades over North America and Europe.

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The recently published findings surprised scientists, who believed levels of the potent neurotoxin were climbing due to increased coal-burning in Asia.

But co-author Vincent St. Louis of the University of Alberta says government and industry moves to restrict the use of mercury seems to have made a difference in some parts of the world.

He says it's proof that regional action can make a difference and that countries don't have to all move at the same time to make an environmental difference.

The paper finds that mercury emissions over North America and Europe fell by about 30 per cent between 1990 and 2010.

Exposure to even low levels of mercury can damage breathing, muscle co-ordination and mental health.



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