The symptoms of mercury poisoning can be very vague at first. This is because symptoms usually appear gradually, and can be easily misdiagnosed.
You don't always get ALL the symptoms. Sometimes just two or three can appear.
There are 3 forms of mercury, and each of them can cause specific symptoms. The 3 forms of mercury are:
Methyl Mercury is generally considered to be the most toxic and most dangerous form of mercury. Let's take a look at why.
The younger you are, the more Methyl Mercury can cause problems. An unborn baby's growing brain and nervous system can be affected by methyl mercury in fish and shell fish eaten by the mother.
The baby may develop poorer thinking skills, poorer memory and language, and also poorer hand-eye coordination.
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There have been several cases in recent years of Methyl Mercury poisoning. The two most important ones occurred in Minamata in Japan, and the the other in Iraq.
In Minamata, over 2,000 people developed Methyl Mercury poisoning after eating fish containing high levels of the compound. The original source of the mercury was an industrial plant releasing contaminated waste water into Minamata Bay.
In Iraq, farmers in the South were given wheat grain for planting that had been treated with Methyl Mercury as an anti-fungal agent. The farmers were supposed to PLANT the wheat grain and grow new crops.
However, without enough food for their families, the farmers ignored the instructions to plant the grain, and they just ground the grain into flour, and made bread with it. Of course, the flour was highly contaminated with Methyl Mercury.
Within months, symptoms of mercury poisoning began to appear.
These awful accidents tell us that an unborn baby's developing nervous system is extremely sensitive to Methyl Mercury; we know this because many babies born in the affected areas shortly afterwards had typical mercury poisoning disabilities, even though their mothers had absolutely NO symptoms of mercury poisoning at all.
In addition to the symptoms noted above, other symptoms of Methyl Mercury poisoning may include;
Elemental (pure) mercury effects;
Pure mercury (ie. the element mercury as a liquid metal at room temperature) causes health effects when you breath the fumes. This is because it is absorbed straight into the lungs. You might think that this type of exposure only happens in industrial accidents, but it can also happen in the home if you break an older type of thermometer containing mercury, or the newer energy-efficient light bulbs, for example.
There is evidence that some small amount of mercury vapor comes off dental amalgam fillings. This is increased by heat (ie. eating hot food) and by grinding your teeth.
This mercury vapor is then absorbed by breathing it in, rather than by swallowing it.
For more information about amalgam fillings, go to amalgam filling replacement.
Symptoms of elemental mercury effects:
Effects of other mercury compounds
A high exposure to inorganic mercury can cause damage to your gut, your nervous system, and your kidneys. All types of mercury compound can be absorbed in your stomach and gut, and then go on to affect other parts of your body.
If you have been exposed to a high level of inorganic mercury you might get some of the following:
If you are worried about possible symptoms of mercury poisoning, you should arrange to see your physician as quickly as possible. He will be able to assess your symptoms and make some tests to confirm the problem.
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I hope my guide to the different types of mercury poisoning has been helpful. As always, if you have any doubts, you should see a doctor as soon as possible!