Virtual memory way high

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http://askubuntu.com – On Ubuntu 12.10, shortly after startup, I see Firefox has 1.0GB, and compiz has 1.2GB in the Virtual Memory column. With only 2gb of memory (and a large swap) could this signify a memory leak that is causing the system to grind to a halt with several apps open? Whenever it slows significantly I see the IOwait is very high, maybe from swapping. (HowTos)