Mercury is a toxic element whose unique properties make it one of the most useful and pervasive substances, and as such, concentrations in places around the world have risen to levels of concern. The Great Lakes is one such place. There have been intensive efforts by many government and international bodies to reduce the use and emission of mercury to the environment.
The lack of regulations in developing nations means that mercury releases continue unabated in many countries. Deliberate use of the toxin continues, perhaps being driven by its low market price and lack of knowledge about the environmental and human health consequences of its toxic properties, as countries struggle to address disposal and recycling issues. One of the largest industrial emitters in the world is coal- fired electricity generation, a sector that continues to grow, and remains unrestricted in many countries.