By Thomas Waite (Auth.)
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2 DISTRIBUTION OF SPECIES OF MERCURY COMPOUNDS VS. CHLORIDE ION CONCENTRATION. 5. 5. As the chloride concen 2 common, tration is increased, the hydroxide forms of mercury become less and the predominant species becomes either HgCl 3~ or HgCl 4". We have seen so far that the solubility of the inorganic forms of mercury relate directly to the ability of mercury to inflict environmental damage, that is, the more soluble the compound in aqueous systems, the more likely it is to enter biological food chains and become a water quality hazard.
Subsequent studies found that there were significant levels of mercury in some of the higher pelagic fish such as tuna and swordfish. 1. Toxicological Effects Metallic mercury is of little interest from the point of view of health, because relatively large quantities can be consumed without severe health effects. However, mercury vapor that sublimes from elemental mercury at room temperature can cause acute toxicological effects in the lungs, often leading to the necrosis of pulmonary tissue. The most important forms of mercury from a water quality perspective are the salts.
When this occurs, it is possible to calculate the solubility product Ks, that is, the product of the concentrations of the ionic species involved in the dissolution. This prod uct is a constant, and it can be used to relate the comparative ability of a given compound to go into solution. For the general reaction M A —* m M + aA, ma the solubility product will be Ks = [My\AY. 44 3 Toxic Metals and Water Quality The extent to which any salt dissolves in water can be approximated by its solubility product.
Principles of Water Quality by Thomas Waite (Auth.)