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Flinders reseacher’s new material lays waste to mercury pollution

A brand new, dirt cheap, non-toxic polymer that literally sucks mercury out of water and soil is set to become a game changer in the battle against one of the world’s most reviled pollutants. The dark red material, developed by Flinders University’s Dr Justin Chalker, is made from the industrial waste products sulphur and limonene and turns bright yellow when it absorbs mercury. Dr Chalker says the new polymer is cheap to produce due to the global abundance of waste sulphur and limonene. That makes it affordable for use in large-scale environmental clean-ups, to coat water pipes carrying domestic and waste water, and even in removing mercury from large bodies of water. This has significant implications for human health and wellbeing as mercury exposure – whether through the skin or through ingestion, such as eating contaminated fish, is proven to damage the central nervous system and is particularly dangerous to pregnant women and children.”

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