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Environment Magazine September/October 2008


July-August 2017

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A New Pollution Problem

MERCURY PESTICIDES are in widespread use in American agriculture and may be resulting in mercurial residues in a wide variety of foods—wheat, eggs, meat, fruit, potatoes. The most popular mercury compounds being used here have been banned in Sweden and are undergoing careful scrutiny in other countries. (The story of the Swedish experience and available knowledge of the effects of mercury are summarized in the following two articles.) In the United States, by contrast, there is almost no information available about the extent of mercury contamination of food and of the general environment. Although federal regulations establish a “zero tolerance” for mercury pesticides — no residue at all may appear in foods sold in interstate commerce — research in other countries shows the widespread use of these materials results in some residues in many food products.


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