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Evaluation of Possible Mercury Contamination at Chinese Bottling Plant

  • Challenge: Cardno ChemRisk was retained to assess possible mercury contamination at a major soft drink manufacturer bottling facility in Beijing, China. The objective was to address two alleged mercury poisoning incidents.
  • Approach: Airborne concentrations of mercury were measured at key locations in the bottling plant, at the ppt (parts per trillion) level. Sensitivity of real-time equipment allowed for detection down to background levels in air. Samples collected throughout the bottling site and in equipment were compared to typical atmospheric levels of mercury found in industrial areas of China.
  • Findings: It was concluded that mercury could not have been present at the bottling plant for a period of more than a year prior to the alleged poisoning incidents.
  • Value: The bottling plant was ruled out as a plausible source of mercury. Two months later, two individuals confessed to tampering with the drinks after they were opened.
Tags: Case Studies by Industry: Food
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Chemical or Material: Mercury

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