The Science of Sustainability

Tag: mercury

In Historic Gold Country, Old Mines Get New Life

In Historic Gold Country, Old Mines Get New Life

It's not the frenzy of 1849, but gold mining is quietly making a comeback in California. While some communities are concerned about the environmental costs, others see the chance for a "greener" gold rush.

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Geological Outings Around the Bay: New Almaden

Geological Outings Around the Bay: New Almaden

The New Almaden area looms large in Gold Rush history. Today it's an open-air museum of California mining practices and quicksilver geology.

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Got Mercury? The New EPA Ruling And The San Francisco Bay

Got Mercury? The New EPA Ruling And The San Francisco Bay

This week, after decades of legal delays and foot dragging by the coal and power industry, the EPA unveiled a new rule protecting public health from mercury and other toxins.

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The View from Coal Country in the Age of Green

The View from Coal Country in the Age of Green

Coal produces nearly half the electricity in the U.S., but the mercury, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide it emits also makes it one of the most controversial energy sources. For many environmental activists, coal represents an old, dirty source of power, but for coal-mining communities around the country, the story is different.

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Mercury Rises on Coal Costs

Mercury Rises on Coal Costs

Half of the airborne mercury pollution in the US comes from coal-fired power plants. After years of study and debate, the Environmental Protection Agency is planning to announce new limits on mercury from coal plants in November. Meanwhile, utilities are scrambling to meet other new federal regulations and industry groups are asking the government to slow down.

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Bay Area Mercury

Bay Area Mercury

The Bay Area's mercury problem arises from the special geology of the Coast Range that concentrates the metal in the mineral cinnabar.

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The Word From Mercury:  MESSENGER Has Been Delivered

The Word From Mercury: MESSENGER Has Been Delivered

History has been made yet again: NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft is now in orbit around the solar system's innermost planet!

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Mercury in San Francisco Bay

Mercury in San Francisco Bay

There's a hidden danger in San Francisco bay: mercury. A potent neurotoxin that can cause serious illness, mercury has been flowing into the bay since the mining days of the Gold Rush Era. It has settled in the bay's mud and made its way up the food chain, endangering wildlife and making many fish unsafe to eat. Now a multi-billion-dollar plan aims to clean it up. But will it work?

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Producer's Notes: Mercury in San Francisco Bay

Producer's Notes: Mercury in San Francisco Bay

Because there wasn't time in the QUEST TV segment on mercury in the bay to include information on safe fish eating practices, below are the guidelines, along with web links, to help you get plenty of Omega 3s and still keep your mercury levels low.

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How toxic is a busted compact florescent bulb?

How toxic is a busted compact florescent bulb?

Which is worse for you, a can of tuna or a broken CFL bulb? Sorry, Charlie…

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Mercury MESSENGER: The View Is Great; Wish You Were Here

Mercury MESSENGER: The View Is Great; Wish You Were Here

NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft has made yet another swing past our Solar System's innermost planet, Mercury. But, like the traveler who just can't seem to get enough sightseeing in, this was another whirlwind flyby set to the furious tempo of a camera snapping pics–about 1200 in all…

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R.I.P. for CFLs? LEDs to Light our Future

R.I.P. for CFLs? LEDs to Light our Future

I've been a cheerleader for compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) in this blog and will abandon the technology in a millisecond. When it comes to technology, my loyalties are short lived.

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Messages from Mercury

Messages from Mercury

MESSENGER is the space probe that NASA sent to Mercury to give the Solar System's innermost planet the first up-close look since 1975, when Mariner 10 flew by. The MESSENGER's main mission will begin in earnest when it returns to Mercury and finally settles into an orbit around the planet, on March 18th 2011.

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Planetary Robotic Roundup

Planetary Robotic Roundup

NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft at Mercury-artist concept. Photo by: NASA I've been waiting for the "whole story" on Martian ice at the Phoenix lander site to unfold more completely, but the chemical analyses have not yet run their full courses-so I've decided to widen the focus on this blog to give a status report on current […]

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Come Together, Bright Planets, Over Me….

Come Together, Bright Planets, Over Me….

Depiction of a major alignment of the five visible planets in 1059 BCE. Photo By Ben Burress There are some pretty good "lineups" coming soon to skies above you. First of all, "lineups," or alignments, go on in the heavens all the time, though most often they are alignments of objects too faint to easily […]

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Vaccines: One Small Risk for a Child, One Giant Benefit for Mankind

Vaccines: One Small Risk for a Child, One Giant Benefit for Mankind

You're as likely to be struck by lightningas to have a severe reaction to a vaccine. I was reading an article in Time last week about parents not vaccinating their children. The story was about how this phenomenon is becoming more widespread. These kinds of stories are weird to me because vaccines are pretty safe. […]

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Mountain-top telescopes and stars that don't twinkle

Mountain-top telescopes and stars that don't twinkle

Infrared image of a zebra from the London Zoo. Credit: Steve Lowe Right now I am very excited about the possibility of working on a new small telescope in southern Utah. This telescope was funded by a private donation and will be run by the University of Utah. We even found a mountain top in […]

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Reporter's Notes: Mercury in the Bay – Part 2

Reporter's Notes: Mercury in the Bay – Part 2

Last week on QUEST, we took a look at the history of the San Francisco Bay's most dangerous toxin: mercury. This week, now that the mercury is here in the bay, how is it affecting us? The obvious place to go was the Berkeley Marina, one of the bay's most popular fishing spots. On the […]

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Mercury Poisoning: Interview with Dr. Jane Hightower (web only)

Mercury Poisoning: Interview with Dr. Jane Hightower (web only)

Dr Jane Hightower was one of the first Bay Area doctors to start diagnosing mercury poisoning in her patients. In this audio clip, she explains how to know if you might be getting too much mercury from the fish you eat. And, she tells us what she feeds her 10-year old twin boys. (Hint: No tuna fish sandwiches in the Hightower home.)

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Mercury in the Bay – Part 2

Mercury in the Bay – Part 2

Last week, we took a look at how mercury enters the San Francisco Bay. This week: Now that it's here, how is it affecting us? Quest talks to local fisherman, a physician, and a Bay ecologist to find out how we're contending with the Bay's worst toxin.

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