Historically mercury was thought to actually be good for the body and it is said that the first emperor of China took mercury in the form of pills. Unfortunately, instead of providing him with life, they made him go crazy.
Since then we have learned a lot about the harmful effects of mercury. In 1990 the US Clean Air Act was passed which included mercury under the list of contaminants that needed to be contained to the greatest extent.
In 2005 the Environmental Protection Agency mandated that power plants be identified as sources that also needed to be controlled.
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