Mercury Poisoning

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Mercury in any form is poisonous, with mercury toxicity most commonly affecting the neurologic, gastrointestinal and renal organ systems. There are three different types of mercury that cause health problems: Elemental mercury, also known as liquid mercury or quick silver; Inorganic mercury salts; Organic mercury; Elemental mercury can be found in: Glass thermometers; Electrical switches; Fluorescent light bulbs; Dental fillings; Some medical equipment; Inorganic mercury can found in: Batteries; Chemistry labs; Some disinfectants; Folk culture medicines; Red cinnabar mineral; Organic mercury can be found in: Older germ-killers (antiseptics) such as red mercurochrome (merbromin); Thimerosal; Fumes from burning coal converted into organic mercury by certain organisms; Fish that have eaten a form of organic mercury called methylmercury; Symptoms of ELEMENTAL MERCURY: Elemental mercury is usually quite harmless if touched or swallowed. It is so thick and slippery that it usually falls off skin or out of stomach without being absorbed. Considerable damage can occur, however, if mercury is made airborne into small, little droplets and breathed into the lungs. This can often occur by mistake when people try to vacuum up mercury that has spilled onto the ground. Breathing in elemental mercury will cause symptoms right away (acute) if enough mercury is breathed in. Symptoms will also occur over time (chronic) if little amounts are inhaled every day. If this occurs, symptoms may include: Metallic taste; Vomiting; Difficulty breathing; Bad cough; Swollen, bleeding gums; Depending on how much mercury is inhaled, permanent lung damage and death may occur. Person may also have some long-term brain damage from inhaled elemental mercury. Symptoms of INORGANIC MERCURY: Unlike elemental mercury, inorganic mercury is usually poisonous when swallowed. Depending on the how much is swallowed, symptoms may include: Burning in the stomach and throat; Bloody diarrhea and vomiting; If inorganic mercury enters the blood stream, it can attack the kidneys and brain. Permanent kidney damage and failure may occur. A large overdose may cause massive blood and fluid loss from diarrhea, kidney failure, and death. Symptoms of ORGANIC MERCURY: Organic mercury can cause sickness if breathed in, eaten, or placed on the skin for long periods of time. Usually organic mercury causes problems over years or decades, not immediately. In other words, being exposed to small amounts of organic mercury every day for years will likely cause symptoms to appear later. Regardless, a single large exposure can also cause problems. Long-term exposure will likely cause neurological symptoms, including: Numbness or pain in certain parts of skin; Uncontrollable shake or tremor; Inability to walk well; Blindness and double vision; Memory problems; Seizures and death (with large exposures)


Laboratory Test Procedures:

difficulty speaking
muscle twitching
blurred vision
double vision
blood in the stool
difficulty breathing
mucosal bleeding
unsteady walking

Occult Blood Diagnostic
Bicarbonate (CO2)
Chloride Cl
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All information on this page is intended for your general knowledge only and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information