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Everyone is aware of how toxic mercury is to the human body, and over the past decade or two, we have become aware that mercury used in dental procedures is toxic, mercury used in vaccines is toxic, and mercury absorbed by fish is toxic. Now, let me make you aware of another, current source of mercury toxicity - volcanoes.
There is a difference between man-made, inorganic elements that are toxic, and nature-made, organic elements, however. Typically, the molecules are different sizes, natural elements come in "groups" that provide a buffer, organic elements are rarely isolated like we find in man-made products, and natural elements are usually found in trace amounts, which makes exposure less-toxic. However, on occasion, natural elements can become toxic if they come to the Earth's surface in greater quantities. Hence, mercury exposure is increasing because we are experiencing an increase in volcanic activity, worldwide.
I highly recommend having a hair analysis done if you are living in an area where volcanic ash may be circulating. Hopefully, exposure is merely extraneous and not internal. Any way you look at it, it is good to know if mercury is increasing within your living environment - for you, your family, and for your pets.
There are approximately 1,500 known, active volcanoes worldwide. A volcano is considered active if it has erupted in the last 10,000 years, and over 75% of the world's volcanoes, and most active volcanoes, are located along the Pacific Ocean Rim. The number of active volcanoes can only be determined at the time they erupt, however - so, um hum, they're active!!
No one has really counted all of the Earth's volcanoes because we can't see the tens of thousands on the sea floor. Around 1,511 volcanoes have erupted in the last 10,000 years, and these are still considered active. Today, there are about 60 volcanoes showing activity of some kind. On the average, 50 to 70 volcanoes activate every year, and about 160 volcanoes show activity every decade. All these volcanoes release mercury into the atmosphere.
Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe, which currently stands 3,329 meters (10,922 ft) high. Mount Etna is currently releasing mercury into the environment, and scientists are measuring the amount released as an average 2 tons per day. Mount Etna contributes about 20 tons of mercury per year into the air over the Mediterranean basin. Keep a watch on Mt Etna.
With over 60 volcanoes erupting in some capacity today, the volcanic gases are now mixing within both the atmosphere and our water. The Iceland volcanoes are impacting four groundwater springs, which find their way into the oceans.
Mercury from the underwater Mt. Sakurajima volcano in Japan is now within Kagoshima Bay. The water above the volcano in the inner bay registers large amounts of mercury compared to the water at the bay entrance, which is farther from the underwater volcano. Soil samples taken from around the bay show that the soil also contains a large amount of mercury from the volcano.
Mercury levels in the air, ash, and lava around an erupting volcano impact the vegetation, soil, water, and the atmosphere. Mercury contents of pine and spruce needles, brooms, lichens, and the soil around Mt. Etna were determined to have mercury within them, but the levels are generally low at this time, but Mt. Etna is still the main source of mercury in the Mediterranean basin. Bottom-line, the mercury is there.
Mercury is a toxic, trace metal that bioaccumulates with a long atmospheric life cycle. Volcanic mercury exists as gas, as well as particulate matter. Volcanoes are the only natural sources of direct mercury emission into the troposphere and stratosphere, and are the principal natural sources of reactive and particulate mercury in the soil and water.
If you are exposed to ambient mercury, I recommend detoxing regularly, and research quality air and water filters. But, don't get mad at Mother Nature - she's just releasing some steam....
Posted July 2012 | Permanent Link
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