Mercury cycling in the terrestrial, aquatic and atmospheric environment of the Slovak Republic – an overview
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Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Hygiene, Pavol Jozef Šafárik University, Košice, Slovakia
Institute of Physical Education and Sport, Pavol Jozef Safarik University, Kosice, Slovakia
Corresponding author
Tatiana Kimáková   

Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Hygiene
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2019;26(2):273-279
Mercury release in the environment is mainly the result of human activity, particularly from coal-fired power stations, residential heating systems, waste incinerators, and as a result of mining for mercury, gold and other metals, which have led to widespread global mercury pollution. Excessive exposure to mercury is associated with a wide range of adverse health effects, including damage to the central nervous system, digestive and immune systems, and to lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes.

The main aim of the study is to summarize the selected mercury sources in the environment of the Slovak Republic, regarding waste incinerators, landfill waste, crematoria, chemical plants, rivers and soils.

Brief description of state of knowledge:
Although the neurologic symptoms of Minamata disease were identified sufficiently for specialists to classify mercury as the causative agent, the acceptance of mercury´s environmental impacts will require several decades of research. Several new issues have arisen – the need for energy conservation leads to the use of fluorescent lighting, which contain mercury; emissions driven by increases in coal combustion, incineration and economic development have sent more mercury into the air, soil and water.

Mercury is toxic to human health, posing a particular threat to the development of the child in utero and early in life. The systematic analytical controls of contaminants in water, soil and air are important. The installation of modern cleaning technologies to comply with the maximum emission level can substantially minimized the environmental impact of incinerators. Since human cremation is also an increasing practice, further research on mercury emissions is necessary.

The study was completed with the assistance of the Test Laboratory of EL Institute in Spiššká Nová Ves which performs mercury testing and sampling of foodstuff, foods, beverages, and their individual components, biological materials, waste, waters, soils, chemicals, among other materials.The research was partially supported by Cultural and Educational Grant Agency MŠVVaŠ SR, grant number 005UPJŠ-4/2019.
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