Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is present throughout the environment and in plants and animals. Human activity may cause naturally occurring mercury to be released into the environment. Some of the primary sources of human released mercury include coal-fired electric utilities, municipal waste combustors, medical waste incinerators, and hazardous waste combustors.
At high doses, mercury exposure can cause tremors
, inability to walk, convulsions, and even death
. At lower levels, the effect of mercury, while not as drastic, is nevertheless serious. Low-level exposure to mercury may cause damage to the senses and brain
Birth defects due to mercury are also a serious topic. A developing fetus is most sensitive to the effects of mercury. Children of women exposed to relatively high levels of methylmercury during pregnancy have exhibited a variety of abnormalities
, including delayed onset of walking and talking, and reduced neurological test scores. Children exposed to far lower methylmercury exposures in the womb have exhibited delays and deficits in learning ability. In December 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed to warn women of childbearing age to limit their consumption of tuna because of concerns about mercury poisoning. Intake of tuna and other fish and shellfish should be limited to 12 ounces a week.
See a doctor if you or your child have experienced serious health problems because of mercury exposure. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
within which you must commence suit.
- Toxic & Hazardous Substances
- Birth Defects
- Cerebral Palsy
- Depression: Overview
- Head & Brain Injury
- Hearing Loss
- Mental Retardation: Overview
- Seizures: Overview
- Tremors: Overview
- Mercury Exposure: Frequently Asked Questions