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The COALQUAL data set lists the mercury content of samples collected from the in-ground US coal resource, whereas the ICR data set lists the mercury content of samples collected from coal shipments delivered to US electric utilities. After selection and adjustment of records, the COALQUAL data average 0.17 ??g Hg/g dry coal or 5.8 kg Hg/PJ, whereas the ICR data average 0.10 ??g Hg/g dry coal or 3.5 kg Hg/PJ. Because sample frequency does not correspond to the inground or produced tonnage, these values are not accurate estimates of the mercury content of either in-ground or delivered US coal. Commercial US coal contains less mercury than previously estimated, and its mercury content has declined during the 1990s. Selective mining and more extensive coal washing may accelerate the current trend towards lower mercury content in coal burned at US electric utilities.
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Mercury in US coal: Observations using the COALQUAL and ICR data