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  1. #1
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    fowledup

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    More on Mercury

    This is something I put together a while ago but didn't do anything with it, enlight of some of the recent topics of discussion I think it maybe helpful or shed some light, I don't know. Please feel free to fact check, dispute or what have ya. Something I feel I need to bring to the front and feel needs to be kept in everyones mind as they read this, is that the majority of what I wrote about are Mercury Mines, and naturally occuring Mercury sites NOT Gold Mines. Most importantly I am not down playing or suggesting that Mercury is not dangerous or harmful to humans. I guess my point is that the effects of Mercury and our fear of it, not unlike Tobacco use, is more about money than public health. We know Tobacco use is bad, but there is more money to be made killing folks with it, hence it being perfectly legal to ingest. On the flip side we also know Mercury is bad, but history tells us it may not be having the effect that the folks making millions off of it and the fear of it would have us believe.


    When it comes to Mercury, California has at one time or another held many titles- largest number of mercury mines (USGS estimates 500-2000), largest producer of Mercury, largest user, biggest abuser, largest Mercury contaminated body of water in the west (Clear Lake), Worst cases of mercury related mine leakage (Idria, Sulphur Bank and Almaden), most contaminated Watersheds and on it goes. What it does not have is the largest database of case history for Mercury poisoning, “Minamata disease, or Mercury contaminated fish consumption related illness, or fatalities. Why not? It’s common knowledge that Mercury is a dangerous toxic element harmful to humans, and especially so when turned into Methylmercury. But how bad is it? Might it be there are other factors in play, naturally occurring elements and processes making it less dangerous to us then we would be led to believe? Could it be that the Fear Mongering about Mercury is more about getting funding than public health and welfare? The vast majority of articles written about Mercury include the qualifying suppositions; could, can, may, if, might? Based on the proposed dangers, one would think the articles and reports would be overwhelmed with words like; does, will, is, shall, or has. Search the web, call your State Public Health Department, the National CDC, or Poison Control Centers of America. There is a severe lack of documentation. California has a 166 year history of producing, using, and abusing Mercury. Why do we not have volumes of case studies showing the effects on Gold Miners, Mercury Miners, and their families? These folks weren’t simply exposed to microscopic tidbits from a bite of fish now and then, it was a significant part of their lives. The Gold rush era miners used it daily as a tool for their work, submerging their arms, hands, and feet in it processing the gold. They and they're families lived on site at the mines. Thousands of Mercury Miners, not gold miners ingested and handled it while working deep in the earth extracting it. An astute individual applying a little common sense might conclude that after 166 years we should have a ton of concrete evidence showing clusters, epidemics, or stories and reports of people getting sick or dying from Mercury poisoning. But we don’t, why is that? There are countless journals, personal accounts and volumes of detailed stories about the Goldrush era, where are the accounts on the effects of the mercury use.

    Earlier I suggested it may be a case of Fear Mongering for profit, let the reader decide; One concerned and caring “environmental” organization has received millions of dollars in taxpayer funding to suction dredge one body of water in the Motherlode country. Ironically it needs to be brought to attention that the same organization wrote the legislation for the current suction dredge moratorium, banning the use of motorized suction dredge equipment. Guess that is one way to deal with the competition. With the passing of Proposition 1, they are set up to receive millions more. There hope and goal is to recover a mere 150 lbs of Mercury during a three to five year project. It should be pointed out that as much as 6 million pounds of Mercury released during the gold rush have yet to be recovered. Remember these figures, they are important- One single body of water and 150 pounds of Mercury in 3-5 years out of millions of pounds and hundreds of sites! Starting to do the math, and subsequent future profit margins? The completion date of this project was slated for December 2014. As of this date the project has not gone into “production” mode and the reservoir is no where near remediated. The project is being used as an on site demonstration piece showing the projects viability and a means of seeking further funding. However, the further funding part does seem to be doing quite well at this time.

    California has the most contaminated waterways and largest number of Mercury Mine sites in North America. One of those, the New Idria in San Benito operated for 120 years and closed in 1972. It is considered to be one of the worst. Finally in September of 2011 it became a superfund site. Some interesting facts about the New Idria; the EPA estimated that flowing at a rate of 40 gallons per minute from the mine site, 21 million gallons of contaminated water per year flow into the nearby creek which flows into the San Joaquin river and eventually flows into the San Francisco Bay Delta distributing 700lbs of Mercury annually into the Delta. The San Francisco Bay Delta provides ⅔ of the state’s drinking water. Another mine the Almaden with a rich Mercury history lies 12 miles south of downtown San Jose, it has been “cleaned” and is now an urban park. Clear lake, the most naturally occuring Mercury contaminated body of water on the West Coast also feeds a watershed that finds it’s way to the Delta. Right now there are currently around a dozen major Mercury clean up efforts going on in the state out of a thousand plus conataminated sites..

    I have the following questions:
    > Is the danger to the public as real as "they" would have us believe or is it “fear mongering for funding”?
    > Why is there not a comprehensive historical database on Mercury illness or fatalities in California?
    > If our water supply and health is in as much danger as the "environmentalists" would have us believe, why are there only a dozen or so clean up efforts out of thousands of sites across the state?
    > Are the clean ups warranted where they are happening, are we remediating those sites posing the biggest threat to our drinking water?
    > Are the organizations receiving our tax money qualified and experienced or simply creating a new “green” source of revenue for themselves?
    > What are the best management and industry standards and practices for Mercury cleanup, are they being applied?
    > What does the research show concerning alternative methods such as non-invasive, non-destructive Selenium treatments?
    > Why are we not doing more to promote Public Mercury education and collection programs like we do with waste CFL’s and burnt Fluorescent tubes?
    > According to the aforementioned environmentalist organization receiving public funding for a Mercury remediation, project using a Suction Dredge, Suction Dredge technology is the most efficient means of recovering Mercury. Current test data appears to support this as well, so why are we not lifting the current moratorium on Suction Dredging?
    > Why are we not promoting and developing grassroots remediation incentive programs using the large volunteert workforce of small scale Miners and prospectors to remove the Mercury and clean up the state's waterways? Who better, more experienced, or well equipped to deal with a mining problem than the miners themselves?
    Last edited by fowledup; May 30, 2015 at 04:24 PM.

  2. #2
    us
    Northern California

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    Good article, questions and reasoning. I've been in or around some of those areas and the mining operations are significant to this day so reading your write up enforced in my mind your question about what is really going on IF Mercury is such a big deal as they are not even scratching the surface of Mercury in CA...........63bkpkr
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  3. #3
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    us
    Period Six Mining and Exploration, LLC

    Aug 2010
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    Ok, I'll answer some of the questions for you.

    1. No mercury is not as toxic as they make it out to be and it is just fear mongering.

    2. Because there really is none that can be directly attributed to mercury. If this was actually published, with test results, people would see right through it.

    3. The water supply is not in danger, never was. Just fear mongering to make themselves look like "saviors".

    4. The clean up may or may not hurt. The real question that needs to be asked is are the "disposal sites" safe.

    5. I'm going to bet no on this one. Especially when choices like a cutter head dredge are used. Lots of turbidity stirred up. Would work great for further funding as "the problem is even bigger than we thought".

    6. BMP's? I'll bet they are being made up as the yare going along. After all, they claim that gold dredgers just stir up the sediments releasing the mercury. Same difference here.

    7. No research currently that I know if. Since selenium occurs naturally there in California, it would be a self defeating move to do this.

    8. Money, plain and simple.

    9. Can't have the average person thinking they can make a REAL difference. Just think of the consequences in a variety of other areas.


    Now on to something more interesting. Like putting the mercury boogeyman to bed PERMANENTLY.

    Methyl mercury by itself is NON-TOXIC., contrary to all research and popular belief. Hence why it is still used in many "energy saving" devices. However, what it does in the body is toxic. Every body here should remember all the postings about how mercury and selenium have a rather serious affinity for each other.

    SELENIUM IS IMPORTANT FOR PROPER NUEROLOGICAL FUNCTION IN THE HUMAN BRAIN. Now with mercury's affinity for selenium, selenium gets removed from the human body thus reducing and damaging neurological function.

    Test after test has been done that proves that lethal doses of mercury, far above the minimums, can and will be tolerated if a like amount of selenium is also ingested.

    There are a whole host of ocean going fishes that contain high amounts of selenium that we are told not to eat due to "mercury contamination". What better way to ensure neurological problems to further the boogeyman than to tell people not to eat the very thing that stop the boogeyman.


    Mining is how I make my living. I turn mountains into dust on a daily basis.

  4. #4
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    fowledup

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    More good info to help understand the difference between elemental and Monomethyl Mercury and how it gets into the fish we eat- How Does Toxic Mercury Get into Fish? : Oceanus Magazine

    Thought this was interesting and worthy of mention as well--
    The story often surfaces that this or that U-boat had mercury ballast (as much as 200 tons). The upshot would be that using Mercury would enable the engineers to stabilize the boat in an instant.

    First the maximum amount of mercury ever carried by a U-boat was about 100 tons on U-861.

    Lead was normally used for U-boat ballast. Mercury was only stored in the keel as cargo in place of the normal ballast. However, at least nine U-boats did in fact carry mercury in place of at least part of its ballast, the U-234 that surrendered to the US in May, 1945 with approximately 24 tons of mercury worth roughly $70,000 to $80,000 at the time being one of them. Another was the U-859 that had approximately 77 tons of mercury on board when it was sunk in 1944 near Penang. The mercury was for Japan and was salvaged in the sixties. U-864 recently discovered off Norway is also loaded with approximately 70 tons of mercury and is of great concern to the Norwegian authorities who are working on raising or sealing the boat. U-234 was actually a replacement for U-864 after she was sunk

    Now what is mind boggling is when we extrapolate this into the hundreds of ship wrecks spread across the ocean floor, most all of which carried Mercury (some carrying several hundred tons), especially those in the spanish fleet or those heading to the goldfields of California that were lost going "around the horn". Those ships have been sinking further and further into the sediments of the ocean floor. A low oxygen environment ripe with all the ingredients needed to turn that elemental mercury into the much worse for humans and animals- monomethyl mercury.

    My point to all this is - if there is this much elemental mercury in danger or at risk of turning into uber harmful monomethyl mercury, why on earth would we ban even one method of recovery, let alone the best most efficient proven one we have.
    Last edited by fowledup; May 30, 2015 at 11:16 PM.
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  5. #5

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    Good discussion guys! I just pulled some tasty black rockfish off the grill!
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    I am a teacher, hydrologist, biologist and a prospector.

  6. #6
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    fowledup

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aufisher View Post
    Good discussion guys! I just pulled some tasty black rockfish off the grill!
    According to the NRDC's consumer guide your good to go! Enjoy!
    Consumer Guide to Mercury in Fish

    The list below shows the amount of various types of fish that a woman who is pregnant or planning to become pregnant can safely eat, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA recommendation is based on body weight and is, therefore, dependent on a person's size. The guidance below is based on a 6oz serving of cooked fish for a 130lb/60kg woman. People with small children who want to use the list as a guide should reduce portion sizes. Adult men, and women who are not planning to become pregnant, are less at risk from mercury exposure but may wish to refer to the list for low-mercury choices. For a more personalized recommendation, use NRDC's mercury calculator.

    Protecting yourself -- and the fish: Certain fish, even some that are low in mercury, make poor choices for other reasons, most often because they have been fished so extensively that their numbers are perilously low. These fish are marked with an asterisk (read more below).

    This list applies to fish caught and sold commercially. For information about fish you catch yourself, check for advisories in your state.

    LEAST MERCURY

    Enjoy these fish:
    Anchovies
    Butterfish
    Catfish
    Clam
    Crab (Domestic)
    Crawfish/Crayfish
    Croaker (Atlantic)
    Flounder*
    Haddock (Atlantic)*
    Hake
    Herring
    Mackerel (N. Atlantic, Chub)
    Mullet
    Oyster
    Perch (Ocean)
    Plaice
    Pollock
    Salmon (Canned)**
    Salmon (Fresh)**
    Sardine
    Scallop*
    Shad (American)
    Shrimp*
    Sole (Pacific)
    Squid (Calamari)
    Tilapia
    Trout (Freshwater)
    Whitefish
    Whiting
    MODERATE MERCURY

    Eat six servings or less per month:
    Bass (Striped, Black)
    Carp
    Cod (Alaskan)*
    Croaker (White Pacific)
    Halibut (Atlantic)*
    Halibut (Pacific)
    Jacksmelt
    (Silverside)
    Lobster
    Mahi Mahi
    Monkfish*
    Perch (Freshwater)
    Sablefish
    Skate*
    Snapper*
    Tuna (Canned
    chunk light)
    Tuna (Skipjack)*
    Weakfish (Sea Trout)
    HIGH MERCURY

    Eat three servings or less per month:
    Bluefish
    Grouper*
    Mackerel (Spanish, Gulf)
    Sea Bass (Chilean)*
    Tuna (Canned Albacore)
    Tuna (Yellowfin)*
    HIGHEST MERCURY

    Avoid eating:
    Mackerel (King)
    Marlin*
    Orange Roughy*
    Shark*
    Swordfish*
    Tilefish*
    Tuna (Bigeye, Ahi)*
    * Fish in Trouble! These fish are perilously low in numbers or are caught using environmentally destructive methods. To learn more, see the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the The Safina Center (formerly Blue Ocean Institute), both of which provide guides to fish to enjoy or avoid on the basis of environmental factors.

    ** Farmed Salmon may contain PCB's, chemicals with serious long-term health effects.

    Sources for NRDC's guide: The data for this guide to mercury in fish comes from two federal agencies: the Food and Drug Administration, which tests fish for mercury, and the Environmental Protection Agency, which determines mercury levels that it considers safe for women of childbearing age. View the equations we used to make these serving recommendations.

    About the mercury-level categories: The categories on the list (least mercury to highest mercury) are determined according to the following mercury levels in the flesh of tested fish.

    Least mercury: Less than 0.09 parts per million
    Moderate mercury: From 0.09 to 0.29 parts per million
    High mercury: From 0.3 to 0.49 parts per million
    Highest mercury: More than .5 parts per million
    Intro Effects Sources Protect Yourself Reducing Pollution
    For Medical Professionals

  7. #7
    us
    Sniper

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    But I love eating Tuna as often as I can!
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  8. #8
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    Six servings of lobster a month ! You'd need to take a second mortgage on your home. I'm surprised that the bottom feeders like catfish, crawfish and clams rate so low.
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  9. #9
    us
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    All depends on where they are caught or farmed. HUGE articles in Consumers reports and National Geo on mercury contamination of fish with who,what,how and why. Always educating-John
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  10. #10

    May 2013
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    Take two of these and you will be feeling great by the morning!Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #11
    us
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    Hey Foweled up. Did you mean that California has the most mercury contaminated waterways, or the most contaminated in general? The 50 Most Polluted Rivers in the Country | EWG

    California Coastkeeper Alliance | Clean, Abundant Water | Severely Polluted Waters
    Interesting interactive map.... Note that you can see the pollution(what they say is polluted) increases in urban areas...DUH!!!!! and places frequented by the most tourists....As many of us know when you get in the rural areas where the local population has been the steward for some time now the waters are far less polluted.(or not Polluted)
    I say less polluted because according to these groups 83% of the river course studied is polluted..(no scale easily determined) and 96%!!!!!!!!!! of lakes.

    I grew up in southern California. I lived close to a lake called Lake Perris. It was the closest easiest to access lake for millions of people. It ended up closed several times a year from people getting sick and having gnarly rashes show up. I learned young that 98% of people in the cities could care less about how they kept their own places they played... They come wait in line pay to enter, leave their trash and go home.....and they bring that attitude when they go camping and boating in the hills.
    Why on earth would we let people in the cities tell us how to take care of our natural places is way beyond me.........

  12. #12

    Feb 2014
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    You guys do know that there are some very good reads on this in the supporting docs for the current motion for injunction in SB right? I especially like Claudia's deceleration http://www.goldgold.com/wp-content/u..._5-18-2015.pdf You know, Claudia Wise, former EPA scientist /chemist and currently a suction dredger.........

    ratled
    Last edited by ratled; May 31, 2015 at 12:47 PM.
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  13. #13
    Charter Member
    us
    Period Six Mining and Exploration, LLC

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    This is interesting.


    How Much Selenium Is in Salmon? | Healthy Eating | SF Gate

    So if the '49ers were eating a lot of salmon in those days, which is highly likely, then we have one of the reasons that there wasn't a high instance of mercury poisoning. Combine this with the fact that many areas of CA have a high selenium content in the soil, and we have a situation set up where mercury toxicity is a non issue.

    So at 41 micrograms of selenium per 4 ounce filet, it would only take a fish a day to prevent poisoning.

    And tuna are some of the best.

    Selenium in tuna protects against mercury - LahainaNews.com | News, Information, Lahaina and Western Maui, Hawaii ? Lahaina News

    And you have to start wonder exactly where these people's heads are.

    Swordfish:

    The selenium content in swordfish (xiphias gladius) in relation to total mercury content - ResearchGate


    I figure that the people putting this out have their heads firmly stuck up their colorectal canals.
    Mining is how I make my living. I turn mountains into dust on a daily basis.

  14. #14
    us
    Oct 2014
    Oregon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Machinist View Post
    Ok, I'll answer some of the questions for you.

    1. No mercury is not as toxic as they make it out to be and it is just fear mongering.

    2. Because there really is none that can be directly attributed to mercury. If this was actually published, with test results, people would see right through it.

    3. The water supply is not in danger, never was. Just fear mongering to make themselves look like "saviors".

    4. The clean up may or may not hurt. The real question that needs to be asked is are the "disposal sites" safe.

    5. I'm going to bet no on this one. Especially when choices like a cutter head dredge are used. Lots of turbidity stirred up. Would work great for further funding as "the problem is even bigger than we thought".

    6. BMP's? I'll bet they are being made up as the yare going along. After all, they claim that gold dredgers just stir up the sediments releasing the mercury. Same difference here.

    7. No research currently that I know if. Since selenium occurs naturally there in California, it would be a self defeating move to do this.

    8. Money, plain and simple.

    9. Can't have the average person thinking they can make a REAL difference. Just think of the consequences in a variety of other areas.


    Now on to something more interesting. Like putting the mercury boogeyman to bed PERMANENTLY.

    Methyl mercury by itself is NON-TOXIC., contrary to all research and popular belief. Hence why it is still used in many "energy saving" devices. However, what it does in the body is toxic. Every body here should remember all the postings about how mercury and selenium have a rather serious affinity for each other.

    SELENIUM IS IMPORTANT FOR PROPER NUEROLOGICAL FUNCTION IN THE HUMAN BRAIN. Now with mercury's affinity for selenium, selenium gets removed from the human body thus reducing and damaging neurological function.

    Test after test has been done that proves that lethal doses of mercury, far above the minimums, can and will be tolerated if a like amount of selenium is also ingested.

    There are a whole host of ocean going fishes that contain high amounts of selenium that we are told not to eat due to "mercury contamination". What better way to ensure neurological problems to further the boogeyman than to tell people not to eat the very thing that stop the boogeyman.


    OK, so, I'm just going to leave a couple things here...if methylmercury isn't toxic, please go and get some purified and drip it on your skin...tell us all what happens.

    https://www.osha.gov/dts/hib/hib_data/hib19980309.html

    Medscape: Medscape Access

    ATSDR - Toxicological Profile: Mercury

    http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp46-c2.pdf



    Also...toxic levels of selenium runoff from old mining sites, and toxic mercury levels in drinking water, are totally different problems.

    It's not so much about fatality from mercury, but about impacts to quality of life. A truck can break both someone's legs and they may not die, but their quality of life is going to be severely impacted.

    My question is more, given the body of evidence that mercury in all forms is toxic to one degree or another, why is so much effort being exerted on this forum to argue otherwise??

    *mic drop*
    Last edited by Caribou369; May 31, 2015 at 02:46 PM.
    - TANSTAAFL -
    The map is not the territory.
    If we do not act, we are acted upon.

  15. #15
    us
    fowledup

    Jul 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aufisher View Post
    Take two of these and you will be feeling great by the morning!Click image for larger version. 

Name:	20150217_181708-1.jpg 
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    Catching two of those I'd be feeling great by morning! Nice fish!
    Aufisher likes this.

 

 
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