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The 18th century fur trade polluted Lake Superior's shore with mercury that's never gone away

from Smithsonian

Before we recognized that the allure of quicksilver — elemental mercury — was tainted by its toxic effects, we used it to decorate, to develop photos, to make mirrors reflect and to heal the sick. Mercury still shows up in food, in batteries and even in cosmetics. We may finally be phasing it out, but that doesn't mean we're rid of it. Thanks to the 18th century fur trade in the Great Lakes, toxic mercury still lingers, centuries later, on the northern shore of Lake Superior. more


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