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Rethinking the Minamata Tragedy : What Mercury Species was really Responsible?

James, Ashley K ; Nehzati, Susan LU ; Dolgova, Natalia V ; Sokaras, Dimosthenis ; Kroll, Thomas ; Eto, Koyomo ; O'Donoghue, John L ; Watson, Gene ; Myers, Gary J and Krone, Patrick H , et al. (2020) In Environmental Science & Technology
Abstract

Industrial release of mercury into the local Minamata environment with consequent poisoning of local communities through contaminated fish and shellfish consumption is considered the classic case of environmental mercury poisoning. However, the mercury species in the factory effluent has proved controversial, originally suggested as inorganic, and more recently as methylmercury species. We used newly-available methods to re-examine the cerebellum of historic Cat 717, which was fed factory effluent mixed with food to confirm the source. Synchrotron high energy resolution fluorescence detection-X-ray absorption spectroscopy (HERFD-XAS) revealed sulfur-bound organometallic mercury with a minor β-HgS phase. Density functional theory (DFT)... (More)

Industrial release of mercury into the local Minamata environment with consequent poisoning of local communities through contaminated fish and shellfish consumption is considered the classic case of environmental mercury poisoning. However, the mercury species in the factory effluent has proved controversial, originally suggested as inorganic, and more recently as methylmercury species. We used newly-available methods to re-examine the cerebellum of historic Cat 717, which was fed factory effluent mixed with food to confirm the source. Synchrotron high energy resolution fluorescence detection-X-ray absorption spectroscopy (HERFD-XAS) revealed sulfur-bound organometallic mercury with a minor β-HgS phase. Density functional theory (DFT) indicated energetic preference for α-mercuri-acetaldehyde as a waste product of aldehyde production. The consequences of this alternative species in the "classic" mercury poisoning should be re-evaluated.

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Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
in
Environmental Science & Technology
publisher
The American Chemical Society (ACS)
external identifiers
  • scopus:85081125184
  • pmid:31951385
ISSN
1520-5851
DOI
10.1021/acs.est.9b06253
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
2cdae839-71f8-4c44-9d0a-7310bc44088a
date added to LUP
2020-02-07 14:43:06
date last changed
2020-10-27 03:23:51
@article{2cdae839-71f8-4c44-9d0a-7310bc44088a,
  abstract     = {<p>Industrial release of mercury into the local Minamata environment with consequent poisoning of local communities through contaminated fish and shellfish consumption is considered the classic case of environmental mercury poisoning. However, the mercury species in the factory effluent has proved controversial, originally suggested as inorganic, and more recently as methylmercury species. We used newly-available methods to re-examine the cerebellum of historic Cat 717, which was fed factory effluent mixed with food to confirm the source. Synchrotron high energy resolution fluorescence detection-X-ray absorption spectroscopy (HERFD-XAS) revealed sulfur-bound organometallic mercury with a minor β-HgS phase. Density functional theory (DFT) indicated energetic preference for α-mercuri-acetaldehyde as a waste product of aldehyde production. The consequences of this alternative species in the "classic" mercury poisoning should be re-evaluated.</p>},
  author       = {James, Ashley K and Nehzati, Susan and Dolgova, Natalia V and Sokaras, Dimosthenis and Kroll, Thomas and Eto, Koyomo and O'Donoghue, John L and Watson, Gene and Myers, Gary J and Krone, Patrick H and Pickering, Ingrid J and George, Graham N},
  issn         = {1520-5851},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {01},
  publisher    = {The American Chemical Society (ACS)},
  series       = {Environmental Science & Technology},
  title        = {Rethinking the Minamata Tragedy : What Mercury Species was really Responsible?},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b06253},
  doi          = {10.1021/acs.est.9b06253},
  year         = {2020},
}