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Topic: Organic Mercury Safety  (Read 1397 times)

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Offline texasstudent

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Organic Mercury Safety
« on: August 12, 2022, 10:36:04 AM »
Imagine that a bottle of whiskey has 1:100 parts mercury to whiskey.
How would the mercury be safely removed.
Some of the mercury would likely pass over with distillation, and so simple distillation would not be sufficient to purify it.
My friend and I were arguing about this due to the recent river mercury poisoning in Poland.
I am a math student btw, not chemistry, so sorry if this question seems dumb to you.

Offline billnotgatez

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Re: Organic Mercury Safety
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2022, 11:11:13 AM »
Does doing a GOOGLE on
Quote
removing mercury from water
help

Online Borek

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Re: Organic Mercury Safety
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2022, 11:32:35 AM »
Mercury can be present in different forms, unfortunately these are confused and mistaken by most media outlets and most people commenting on the situation. Metallic form (liquid metal) is rather easy to remove, as it has a very high density and is always on the bottom, so you can separate it my just be mechanical means (technically it is called decantation - dekantacja in Polish). Then there are vapors - metallic mercury is highly volatile and the vapor will be always present whenever there is a metallic mercury. But broadly speaking the toxic form is oxidized mercury, in a cationic form - it is water soluble and many of its compounds are volatile. There are techniques that can be used to remove heavy metals from water, but I doubt they will leave whiskey palatable. Note that whenever there is the metallic/gaseous form present it gets slowly oxidized and produces toxic compounds, so even if removing metallic form is trivial it doesn't mean whatever was in contact with it is safe.

From my understanding at the moment mercury in Odra waters is like a Schroedinger cat - it is both reported as present, and reported as not present. Hardly funny, but there is so much speculation about what really happened, and so much contradicting information, that I am still waiting for some credible data. The only thing known for sure is that the fish are dying.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2022, 12:29:57 PM by Borek »
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Offline texasstudent

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Re: Organic Mercury Safety
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2022, 12:58:21 PM »
Thank you Borek.

So essentially the process would go:
(1) Decant the whiskey to remove 99% of the mercury pooled at the bottom, but there would still be very toxic amounts of water soluble mercury and organo-mercury compounds and mercury vapors
(2) Use chelation agents to cause the mercury the drop out -
(3) Decant it again
(4) Repeat the chelation process and decanting again. And after several cycles of this it should be reasonably safe, depending on the efficiency of the chelation process. Still I think only a completely crazy fool would trust the whiskey.

Yeah the river poisoning is very sad. An ecological disaster.

Offline rolnor

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Re: Organic Mercury Safety
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2022, 01:05:46 PM »
I think better drink whiskey without heavy metals.

Offline texasstudent

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Re: Organic Mercury Safety
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2022, 01:24:09 PM »
Rolnar of course the only winning answer is not to play. :)
But now say that to the fishes swimming in mercury waters.

Offline rolnor

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Re: Organic Mercury Safety
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2022, 03:42:45 PM »
I think you can have polymers with chelating groups that you can make filters from, these can purify water.

Offline hollytara

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Re: Organic Mercury Safety
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2022, 01:38:14 AM »
Mercury spill kits have Zn powder - the Hg forms an amalgam with the Zn.  There is also citric acid - this may be a reducing agent to keep the mercury as Hg(0).  Or a preservative for the Zn. 

Advertised as 100 g Zn powder absorbs 15 g Hg. 


Offline rolnor

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Re: Organic Mercury Safety
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2022, 12:13:42 PM »
But thats large amounts of mercury, not traces?

Online Borek

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Re: Organic Mercury Safety
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2022, 02:40:55 PM »
Spills, so just a metal.

Actually at the moment it looks like the initial reports about mercury detection were off. Still no answer as to what happened, no toxin/poison has been detected so far.

There are some signals that suggest it could be a kind of an algal bloom, possibly triggered by some discharge of water containing concentrated nutrients. Some algae are known to produce toxins, which could explain dying fish. These are speculations, but at least based on data from water monitoring (which actually didn't detect anything really suspicious, apart from a fast increase in conductivity several days ago, followed by an increase of photosynthesis, hence the algae bloom idea).
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Offline rolnor

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Re: Organic Mercury Safety
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2022, 11:32:13 AM »
Lack of oxygen?

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Re: Organic Mercury Safety
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2022, 11:53:52 AM »
Nope, actually oxygen levels were higher than typical, which - together with elevated levels of chlorophyll - suggest much stronger photosynthesis than usual.
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Offline rolnor

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Re: Organic Mercury Safety
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2022, 01:47:09 PM »
Hm…

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