Document Detail

The toxicology of mercury.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  9288445     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The major physical forms of mercury to which humans are exposed are mercury vapor, Hg0, and methylmercury compounds, Ch3HgX. Mercury vapor emitted from both natural and anthropogenic sources is globally distributed in the atmosphere. It is returned as a water-soluble form in precipitation and finds its way into bodies of fresh and ocean water. Land run-off also accounts for further input into lakes and oceans. Inorganic mercury, present in water sediments, is subject to bacterial conversion to methylmercury compounds that are bioaccumulated in the aquatic food chain to reach the highest concentration in predatory fish. Human exposure to mercury vapor is from dental amalgam and industries using mercury. Methylmercury compounds are found exclusively in seafood and freshwater fish. The health effects of mercury vapor have been known since ancient times. Severe exposure results in a triad of symptoms, erethism, tremor, and gingivitis. Today, we are concerned with more subtle effects such as preclinical changes in kidney function and behavioral and cognitive changes associated with effects on the central nervous system. Methylmercury is a neurological poison affecting primarily brain tissue. In adults, brain damage is focal affecting the function of such areas as the cerebellum (ataxia) and the visual cortex (constricted visual fields). Methylmercury also at high doses can cause severe damage to the developing brain. Today the chief concern is with the more subtle effects arising from prenatal exposure such as delayed development and cognitive changes in children.
T W Clarkson
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Historical Article; Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Critical reviews in clinical laboratory sciences     Volume:  34     ISSN:  1040-8363     ISO Abbreviation:  Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci     Publication Date:  1997  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1997-10-22     Completed Date:  1997-10-22     Revised Date:  2012-05-09    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8914816     Medline TA:  Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  369-403     Citation Subset:  IM; Q    
Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine, New York 14642, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Administration, Inhalation
Drug Resistance, Microbial
History, Ancient
History, Medieval
History, Modern 1601-
Mercury / chemistry*,  history,  toxicity*
Methylmercury Compounds / metabolism,  toxicity
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Methylmercury Compounds; 7439-97-6/Mercury

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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