Mercury toxicity

M. Agocs, T. Clarkson, J. Ambre, C. Becker, J. Borak, J. Cannella, H. Kipen, R. J. Jackson, J. Rodnick, B. A. Wummer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Because mercury has several forms and because it produces subtle effects at chronic low-level exposures, mercury toxicity can be a difficult diagnosis to establish. Elemental mercury vapor accounts for most occupational and many accidental exposures. The main source of organic methyl mercury exposure in the general population is fish consumption. Children are at increased risk of exposure to elemental mercury vapor in the home because it tends to settle to the floor. The chemical and physical forms of mercury determine its absorption, metabolism, distribution and excretion pathways. The central nervous system and kidneys are key targets of mercury toxicity. Chelation therapy has been used successfully in treating patients who have ingested mercury salts or inhaled elemental mercury. There is no antidote for patients poisoned with organic mercury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1731-1744
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Family Physician
Volume46
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Family Practice

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