Metals – Mercury

SOURCE

Mercury has been used for medications and is also found in many products that can cause toxicity to our bodies. Many know that the main consumption of mercury for humans is through seafood, but it is also found in vaccines to infants, dental amalgams, and some prescription medications.

MECHANISM OF ACTION

Mercury ions produce protein precipitation, enzyme inhibition, and corrosive action through their binding to sulfhydryl groups.

TOXICOKINETICS

Absorption of mercury into our bloodstream accounts for 90% of mercury binding to our red blood cells and 10% of mercury binding to our plasma cells. Humans that consume large amounts of mercury daily it was found that inorganic mercury was found in the whole blood (7%), plasma (22%), breast milk (39%), liver (16-40%) and urine (73%). Methylmercury is completely absorbed from our GI tract, distributed to the brain, liver, and kidney. Excretion is primarily in the feces.

 

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

HISTORY

Mercury has been around for many centuries and used in scientific research. One example would be the use of mercury in thermometers. While these types of thermometers are no longer in use in the health care sector, China still produces several devices that contain mercury.

 

REFERENCES

Broussard, Larry, et al. “The Toxicology of Mercury.” LSU Health Sciences Center, 2021, watermark-silverchair-com.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/labmed33-0614.pdf.

Czaika, Ellen, et al. Mercury Science and Policy at MIT, 15 Jan. 2013, mercurypolicy.scripts.mit.edu/blog/?p=367.

National Research Council (US) Committee on the Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury. Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2000. 2, CHEMISTRY, EXPOSURE, TOXICOKINETICS, AND TOXICODYNAMICS. Available from: https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.proxy.lib.ohio-state.edu/books/NBK225779/

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