Assessment of exposure to mercury from industrial emissions: comparing "distance as a proxy" and dispersion modelling approaches

Hodgson, Susan; Nieuwenhujsen, Mark J.; Colvile, Roy; Jarup, Lars
June 2007
Occupational & Environmental Medicine;Jun2007, Vol. 64 Issue 6, p380
Academic Journal
Background: The Runcorn area, north-west England, contains many pollution sources, the health effects of which have been under discussion for over 100 years. Preliminary investigations revealed an excess risk of mortality from kidney disease in people living nearest to several point sources of pollution, using distance as a proxy for exposure. Ongoing epidemiological investigations into the effect of ambient mercury exposure on dose and renal effect required a more refined assessment of exposure. Methods: Atmospheric dispersion modelling was used to assess mercury dispersion from three mercury- emitting sources (including a large chlor alkali plant), based on knowledge of emissions, local meteorology and topography. Results: The model was sensitive to various input parameters, with different dispersion patterns and ground-level concentrations, and therefore different exposed populations identified when different input parameters were defined. The different approaches to exposure assessment also had an impact on the epidemiological findings. The model output correlated well with weekly monitoring data collected in the local area, although the model underestimated concentrations in close proximity to the chlor alkali plant. The model identified that one point source did not contribute significantly to ground-level mercury concentrations, so that inclusion of this source when using the ‘distance as a proxy’ approach led to significant exposure misclassification. Conclusions: The model output indicates that assessment of ambient exposure should give consideration to the magnitude of emissions, point source characteristics, local meteorology and topography to ensure that the most appropriate exposure classification is reached. Even if dispersion modelling cannot be undertaken, these data can be used to inform and improve the distance as a proxy approach, and improve the interpretability of the epidemiological findings.


Related Articles

  • WORK TO PREPARE FOR ENTRY INTO FORCE AND COP1.  // Earth Negotiations Bulletin;11/10/2014, Vol. 28 Issue 33, p4 

    The article presents relevant documents focusing on the international cooperation on mercury supply sources and trade regulations of the United Nations. Details about the preventive methods to mercury emissions and its proposed trade regulations is noted. It outlines issues on small-scale gold...

  • Outlook.  // Venezuela Country Profile;2011, p67 

    The article examines the effort of the Venezuelan government to reduce emission levels through solid waste management, installation of dual gas tanks and habitat protection.

  • Patterns of Urban Mercury Contamination Detected by Bioindication With Terrestrial Isopods. Pedrini-Martha, Veronika; Sager, Manfred; Werner, Richard; Dallinger, Reinhard // Archives of Environmental Contamination & Toxicology;Aug2012, Vol. 63 Issue 2, p209 

    Mercury (Hg) is a trace element with high toxicological impact on potential receptors, including human beings. Global Hg emissions are predicted to increase significantly during the next 40 years. After emission, the metal is transported by air currents and precipitations, leading to increasing...

  • The Minamata Convention on Mercury: Towards Its Early Entry Into Force and Effective Implementation.  // African Business News;9/25/2014, p24 

    No abstract available.

  • Airborne Emissions of Mercury from Municipal Landfill Operations: A Short-Term Measurement Study in Florida. Lindberg, S. E.; Price, J. L. // Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association (Air & Waste M;May99, Vol. 49 Issue 5, p520 

    Large quantities of mercury (Hg) have been placed in municipal landfills from a wide array of sources, including fluorescent lights, batteries, electrical switches, thermometers, and general waste. Despite its known volatility, persistence, and toxicity in the environment, the fate of this Hg...

  • Control of Mercury Emissions from a Municipal Solid Waste Incinerator in Japan. Takaoka, Masaki; Takeda, Nobuao; Fujiwara, Takeshi; Kurata, Masato; Kimura, Tetsuo // Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association;Aug2002, Vol. 52 Issue 8, p1 

    Focuses on the control of mercury emissions from a municipal solid waste incinerator (MSWI) in Japan. Control of Hg emissions from MSWI; Recent trends in Hg content of MSWI; Effects of activated carbon on the Hg reduction ratio.

  • Effect of NOx Control Processes on Mercury Speciation in Utility Flue Gas. Richardson, Carl; Machlek, Tom; Miller, Scott; Dene, Chuck; Chang, Ramsay // Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association;Aug2002, Vol. 52 Issue 8, p1 

    Studies the effects of NOx control processes on mercury speciation in utility flue gas. Determination of Hg emissions from flu gas; Methodology used to investigate the chemical reactions of Hg emissions; Cost assessment of Hg removal.

  • A Life-Cycle Inventory Model of Municipal Solid Waste Combustion. Harrison, Kenneth W.; Dumas, Robert D.; Barlaz, Morton A.; Nishtala, Subba R. // Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association (Air & Waste M;Jun2000, Vol. 50 Issue 6, p993 

    Evaluation of alternate strategies for municipal solid waste (MSW) management requires models to calculate environmental emissions as a function of both waste quantity and composition. A methodology to calculate waste component-specific emissions associated with MSW combustion is presented here....

  • Power plan.  // Waste News;11/10/2003, Vol. 9 Issue 15, p5 

    Toxic mercury emissions from power plants could be reduced from 48 tons to only 7 tons annually through a combination of existing air pollution controls and utilization of commercially available mercury reduction technologies, according to a new report from Northeast States for Coordinated Air...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics