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What's missing here is an estimation of how much mercury is released
from chloralkili and catalyst use--via non-product pathways.
There is evidence of high levels of mercury around some of these
plants (e.g. in Lake Charles). Just because 80% of the mercury in
the environment comes from fossil fuel combustion doesn't mean the
chlorine industry's contribution isn't significant, particularly in
local areas near these facilities.
For instance, there is a huge mercury Superfund
site in Point Comfort Texas, which was caused by an old chloralkili
plant (now closed)...Formosa Plastics built a public walkway out of
recycled plastic lumber over the site. But no one actually cleaned
the mercury up.
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 1997 00:59:46 -0500 (EST)
From: DrBillC <DrBillC@aol.com>
To: Multiple recipients of list <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: question
Some facilities that electrolyze brine to make chlorine and caustic soda use
mercury electrodes. About 14% of the capacity in the US is this way, a larger
percentage in Europe. Some chlorine made over mercury electrodes probably
goes into production of ethylene dichloride (EDC). When EDC is made in the
balanced process from ethylene and chlorine (97% of US capacity) then cracked
to vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), and then the VCM is purified, if there were
any mercury left from chlorine made in this process, it would not distill
over. Thus, with very little to no mercury in the VCM there would be very
little to no mercury in the PVC resin.
For the acetylene process used by Borden the same holds true about
distillation of the monomer.
To my knowledge there are no additives currently in use with PVC that contain
However, Sam is right. 80+ percent of the mercury in the environment arises
from combustion of fossil fuels. Thus, there is mercury all around you, and
most things are likely to contain a little from this source.
Chlorine Chemistry Council
Greenpeace US Toxics Campaign
847 W. Jackson Blvd., 7th floor
Chicago, IL 60607
Ph: (312) 563-6063
Fax: (312) 563-6099
Note new e-mail address: Charlie.Cray@dialb.greenpeace.org