Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mercury Internship Summary

So far in my internship we have made tons of progress. We have planted our poles with the moss bags attached to them at each of our locations in East Haven. We are leaving them moss bags out for 3 weeks, letting them absorb mercury that is in the air. The goal of the project is to determine how much airborne mercury is being released around this location. We have placed our poles within a 2 kilometer range of the waste incinerator in East Haven. The moss we used is Sphagnum moss, it is really porous which makes it great for absorbing pollutants in the air. Mercury can affect humans in many ways. It can cause neurological damage especially to children (fetuses and infants). Mercury is known to cause impaired motor skills, muscle atrophy, and at high exposures kidney failure. Overall the effects of mercury are not a good thing and can really affect our way of life which is why we are doing this project. We want to make sure that mercury is not being released so that people do not have to go through these things. We have learned a lot of mercury and really see that it does affect us and isn't some imaginary thing.  Getting everything done for our project has been a long process. From washing and cleaning our supplies to making phone calls and sending out emails. We even are getting a chance to work with Dr. Carpi. Like I mentioned before in my other blog post, he is a professor at John Jay College in New York who was super nice and agreed to do the analysis for us. He originally did this project and we are replicating it. We will be visiting him in August and seeing his lab. Earlier in June he even came down and taught us about the project and mercury in general. He has done a lot of work with mercury so for him to be doing this with us is really big!

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