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United States Environmental Protection Agency
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Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is present throughout the environment. Human activity can release some of that mercury into the air, water and soil. In the U.S., coal-fired power plants are the biggest source of mercury emissions to the air.

When liquid mercury is spilled, it forms droplets that can accumulate in the tiniest of spaces and then emit vapors into the air. Health problems caused by mercury depend on how much has entered your body, how it entered your body, how long you have been exposed to it, and how your body responds to the mercury. All mercury spills, regardless of quantity, should be treated seriously.

Mercury concentrations in air are usually low and of little direct concern. But when mercury enters water, biological processes transform it to a highly toxic form that builds up in fish and animals that eat fish. People are exposed to mercury primarily by eating fish.

The Environmental Protection Agency is working to reduce the amount of mercury in the environment.

Controlling Power Plant Emissions

EPA is committed to regulating and reducing power plant mercury emissions for the first time ever. EPA is on track to issue the rule by March 15, 2005.

Fish Advisories

General Information

Technical Information


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