This article was from 2006. I’d say it is ” a few years” later now…
According to chemist Andres Campiglia, mercury attacks the nervous system. Too much mercury in your body can cause injury to your brain, kidneys, heart, lungs and immune system.
For pregnant women like Courtney, too much mercury can be toxic to their unborn babies. That’s why she is having her water tested.
University of Central Florida chemists Eloy Hernández and Campiglia have created a new quick, cheap test to detect mercury by using a very unlikely source — pure gold. Water is mixed with a solution containing gold nanorods, or solid gold bars 2,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Gold absorbs mercury. Then, scientists use an optical spectrometer to measure the light soaked up by the nanorods and reveal how much mercury is present.
“The more reddish it becomes, the higher the concentration of mercury,” Hernández tells DBIS.
The entire process takes less than 10 minutes. Results read out on a computer.
Courtney and Jordan’s water was safe, so for them it’s another cup of tea — with a little milk — and no mercury.
This mercury test works on not only liquids, but also on gases and solids. Scientists believe it can also be used in a larger capacity to clean up water and power plants. It could be available to the public within a few years.
via Is Your Water Safe? — Physical Chemists Devise Quick Spectrometry-Based Mercury Test.
Here is a mercury test kit for $22 canadian dollars.