Mercury is a liquid metal at standard atmospheric conditions for temperature and pressure with a chemical symbol Hg. It is a silver in a liquid form and has no colour or odour in gas form. Mercury is non-combustible, as itself doesn’t burn, but it can react to give off toxic fumes when heated..
Mercury is naturally substance, occurring in the earth’s crust and can be found in volcanoes and the weathering of rocks. However, most of the mercury in the environment originates from human activity, mainly as air pollution from coal-burning power stations, industrial processes and waste incinerators. Humans are mainly exposed to methylmercury, an organic compound, which we digest when we eat seafood that contains Mercury. Furthermore, mercury is released by cremation due to the Mercury contained within the biological matter.
Mercury is a persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic pollutant. When mercury is released into the environment, it often begins to amass in water laid sediments, where there it will convert into toxic methylmercury. From here it can enter the food chain. Small amounts of mercury can be fatal to humans.
Gaseous mercury emissions are often controlled by scrubbing, filtration and absorbtion of the waste gas, or a combination of these methods.
Alkali Environmental perform periodic measurements of mercury in gaseous streams from stationary sources in line with the standard reference method BS EN 13211:2001. We are currently working towards accreditation for this method whereby the reported results will carry UKAS and MCERTS accreditation where the method can be performed to the standard.
These measurements are taken using a manual sampling train whereby a single result is obtained for a gas sample taken from the duct.