Soil treatment that traps dangerous neurotoxins
CHARLOTTE, NC, December 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), a leader in the global specialty chemicals industry, today unveiled an innovative product that captures mercury from soil and mining waste, helping to remove this harmful element from the food chain.
MercLok™ is a soil treatment for mercury remediation. Known in the industry as an amendment, MercLok cost-effectively captures mercury in soil, mining waste and, through in-soil treatment, groundwater over the long term, trapping the potent and highly mobile neurotoxin.
“As a value-driven company, we pride ourselves on innovative products that minimize negative impacts on the environment and surrounding communities,” said. Mark de Boervice president of Sustainability, Albemarle. “Our new MercLok technology is another proof point in our efforts to make the world safe and sustainable.”
Mercury and mercury compounds are prevalent around power, chemical, and some factories as well as many gold mines and mercury mines. It affects people who consume seafood or have occupational exposure, including more than one in 1000 children in subsistence fishing populations. Different forms of mercury can have different effects on people’s nervous, digestive and immune systems, and on the lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes, but the mercury found in seafood is the most toxic. (World Health Organization)
Elemental mercury (or mercury) is difficult to contain and expensive to dispose of, and when not contained it dissolves and volatilizes, spreading the environmental, health and safety hazard. As mercury spreads in the environment, it can be converted into methylmercury (the most toxic form of mercury) by bacteria. Methylmercury is responsible for bioaccumulation of mercury in organisms such as fish, which makes them harmful when consumed. Therefore, solutions are needed to immobilize elemental mercury and reduce methylmercury in the environment.
MercLok tracks elemental and ionic mercury in the environment by capturing and stabilizing the mercury, thereby reducing leachability by over 99%. MercLok can reduce methylmercury concentration in treated media by more than 99%. These results are verified by standard test methods and field tests monitoring contaminated media and water.
MercLok is positioned to be a leader in the market with rapid capture at low dose rates and long-term stabilization of mercury.
“Mercury is known as vigilance for some reason,” said Jon MillerResearch and Technology Advisor, Albemarle. “It’s dangerously mobile, working its way through soil, water, air, into the food chain, and into our tissues and nervous system. MercLok immobilizes the venom, meaning it’s locked down to prevent harm in the environment or to humans.”
MercLok can be applied to contaminated media using existing remediation techniques, including in situ mechanical mixing, and direct-push injection. It can also be injected to form permeable reactive groundwater barriers. MercLok is non-hazardous to workers who handle the product with the recommended personal protective equipment, and it is safe for the ecological environment when used as intended. MercLok will be manufactured and sold by Albemarle Amendments, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Albemarle Corporation.
Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB ) is a global specialty chemicals company with leading positions in lithium, bromine and catalysts. We think beyond business as usual to unlock the potential of companies in many of the world’s largest and most critical industries, such as energy, electronics and transportation. We actively pursue a sustainable approach to managing our diverse global footprint of world-class resources. Together with our highly experienced and talented global teams, our deeply held values and our collaborative customer relationships, we create value-added and performance solutions that enable a more secure and sustainable future.
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SOURCE Albemarle Corporation