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Mercury and Health: What is Mercury and Why It's So Harmful

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Author: James S. Pendergraft

Mercury is actually a neurotoxin produced from rocks and volcanoes, fresh water lakes and oceans. Again, many industrial processes like power generation from coal, metal mining and waste ignition lead to generation of mercury that is tremendously harmful. The augmented industrialization is largely responsible for the generation of such a harmful metal.

Mercury Forms in the Atmosphere

There can be three forms of mercury:

- Elemental mercury: It is in the form of silvery volatile liquid that is normally found.

- Inorganic mercury: It is the compounded form that is actually known as mercury salt.

- Organic mercury: When mercury is combined with carbon, it is called organic mercury.

Exposure of Mercury to human body

Due to it unbreakable nature, it stays in the environment for a long period and doesn't get dissolve in it. This is why, there is more possibility of mercury exposure to human body. This will might shock you that mercury can badly affect the kidneys, brain, liver and spinal cord. The diseases, which can be caused by this extremely injurious element, are distorted vision, problems in breathing, nausea, memory loss, hallucination, personality disorder, pneumonitis and many more. The main body parts that seriously have an effect on it are brain and kidney. It can be soaked up by the skin and causes dangerous allergies.

Mercury consists of a compound that is called methyl mercury. This is the most ruinous part of this element. It is strictly advised to pregnant women to stay away from the element, as it can affect the development of the baby in womb and can lead to weak memory and language.

How do we get in contact with mercury?

The air can get contaminated even by a broken thermometer, as it gets evaporated very quickly and then dissolve in air. It also gets dissolve in the air when coal and wood are burnt, as fuel or when toxic waste is burned up. This portion of mercury in air gets liquefied with the rain and then flows into rivers, oceans and lakes. After amalgamating in water, this element turn up into highly toxic compound called methylmercury. This is sometimes absorbed by fish and then it is consumed by human beings via fish curries that they enjoy with pleasure. Again, when these contaminated fishes are eaten by any animal and in this way, we get expose to mercury. You cannot clear up the mercury element from fish by washing and cooking them.

There are some other ways as well, from which we can consume mercury. Dental filling is one of them. Sometimes over dental fillings can cause the mercury exposure. Along with that, certain cosmetics products also include mercury that can cause allergies. The breakage of fluorescent bulbs can also be a reason behind the exposure.

Symptoms of exposure to Mercury

You can figure out yourself whether you are exposed to mercury or not, if you observe these symptoms:

- Itching

- Muscle weakness

- Sweating

- Psychological and mental disorder

- Hair loss

- Improper functioning of kidney

So, having a proper knowledge about mercury and the consequences to mercury exposure can save you from any future problem.

To Your Health! Dr. James S. Pendergraft opened the Orlando Women's Center in March 1996 to provide a full range of health care for women.


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