The Metals Analysis Center supports DEC programs including
acid rain, landfill assessments, and hazardous waste investigations.
Atomic absorption spectrophotometry, inductively coupled plasma
spectroscopy, and the mercury cold vapor system are the current
methods of analysis. Though many metals are essential to both plants
and animals in trace amounts, high levels can have toxic and even
Mercury, a heavy metal, is ranked as one of the worst toxins to
human health and ecosystems. It has a wide range of negative effects
including neurotoxinimmunotoxin, endocrinetoxin, and respiratory
toxin. Mercury even interferes with embryo development. Mercury
is easily stored in animal tissues: Once mercury has made it into
aquaticecosystems, its concentration readily increases as one progresses
up the food chain. This helps to account for the high levels of
mercury detected in fish.
Contacts: Dan Nielsen