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Three million francs’ worth of gold and silver going to waste

Trace elements are increasingly widely used in the high-tech and medical sectors – for example, the transition metal tantalum and the semimetal germanium in electronic components, niobium and titanium in alloys and coatings, or gadolinium as a contrast medium and in luminous paints. While the ultimate fate of the various elements has been little studied to date, a large proportion is known to enter wastewater.

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