Unit 7.4 History: Mercury in
Mercury is an environmental toxin, which served different
uses in ancient days. Mercury was used for gold mining,
in Asia Minor and in the Roman Empire.
Video program cues: 29:35-31:45
History of using mercury
- Scroll down this page for a description of early Egyptian
metallurgy, including gold and mercury
Mercury in gold mining
"There was a method by which the mercury
was shaken up with material containing gold ore, dissolved,
and squeezed through a piece of leather. This is probably
the origin of the story about Jason and the Golden flits.
The gold mines in Asia Minor used that, and the Flits were
Mercury and environmental consciousness
"People died, not that they cared very
much; life was cheap in the Roman Empire. But the Emperor
Hadrian had some humanitarian impulses along those lines.
They tried to limit the hours of exposure of miners to mercury,
prescribing showers, washing clothes, and so on."
Professor Hugh Salzburg
Judd, C. S. (2001)' News from Online: Mercury and Our Environment,
'Journal of Chemical Education, Vol. 78, No. 5, pp:
Rouhi, A.M. (2001)' Whereto, Mercury?, 'Chemical and
Engineering News, Vol. 79, No. 39, pp: 35-38.
to Unit 7.5