Two University professors here at UCF have developed a way to detect trace amounts of mercury in our waters. Dr. Florencio E. Hernandez and Andres Campigliaare now able to detect trace amounts of mercury in our water more accurately than resent water filters. This new procedure of detection could be used to make more accurate and nor less efficient water filters.
Although, mercury is a vital element in our society which is used to make items such as thermometers, medicaments, and some cosmetics, mercury may also represent a threat for our bodies. Large and continuous amounts of mercury could lead to Mercury Poisoning which is also known as hydrargaria or mercurialism. Mercury Poisoning may lead to severe toxic effects such as damage to the brain tissue, kidney, and lungs. Also, mercury poisoning may lead to Minamata disease which harms the neurological system. In minor cases symptoms include ataxia (Loss of coordination of muscle movements) numbness and general muscle weakness. However, in extreme cases symptoms might worsen creating insanity, paralysis, coma, and finally death is followed after these symptoms are shown.
Due to these extreme and hazardous effects of the consumption of mercury polluted waters Hernandez and Campiglia have developed a way to localize and detect even the smallest amounts of mercury in our waters. Although, it might seem like an impossible task to find trace amounts of mercury in our waters even when these are so small and remain unseen to the naked eye, these two physics professors have developed a method which takes advantage of the properties of gold and mercury. Due to the fact that mercury has a tendency to mix with gold particles is an advantage that these tow professors have exploited. It all begins when a sample of mercury polluted water is mixed with solution containing gold nano rods which will float in sodium borohydrate. Then, the mercury is absorbed by these gold nano rods creating an alloy which will be later be identified by an optical spectrometer allowing to be used to monitor shifts in the light absorbed by three gold nano rods, in order so that the user can determine mercury content of the water that is being tested.
The method alongside the device could be used here in Florida due to the fact that this state contains one of the highest levels of mercury around the world not only in our waters but in our soil as well. This mercury makes its way to our waters in the form of rain when coal-burning power plants and other incinerators as well as other manufacturing process expel mercury in the form of gas, alongside other harmful gases into our atmosphere. However, this new process will be able to get rid of mercury from waters around the world, preventing people from contracting diseases such as the Minamata disease among others who are related to mercury poisoning.