Answers For YOUR Health

      Using Mother Nature's Gifts
Common Sense and Modern Medicine
 

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Mercury Poisoning Or How to Wear Out Your Body

Mercury is the only common metal that is a liquid at ordinary temperatures.

It is produced from the ore Cinnabar, the world's supply coming mostly from Spain and Italy. It is a heavy silvery-white metal.

The uses are many including your thermometer, barometers, mercury switches and other electronic apparatus. It is also used in pesticides, dental preparations, paint, batteries and catalysts.

The most important thing to know about mercury is that it is poison. It is a cumulative poison that is absorbed easily through the respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract, or through broken skin.

Broken thermometers are the cause of numerous calls to the Poison Center. Thermometers with a silver line contain elemental mercury. Thermometers with a red or blue liquid do not contain mercury. Elemental mercury is also known as liquid silver and quicksilver. The most common sources of exposure to elemental mercury in the home are due to

  • Broken mercury thermometers
  • broken fluorescent light bulbs
  • dental amalgam fillings
  • mercury containing latex paints

Of all the forms of mercury, elemental mercury is the most commonly swallowed form of mercury usually from a broken thermometer. Fortunately, mercury from a thermometer is not absorbed from the stomach and will not cause any poisoning in a healthy person.

In a healthy person the slippery swallowed mercury will roll into the stomach out in to the bowels and will be quickly eliminated without causing any symptoms. A person with severe inflammatory bowel disease may have problems with mercury if it is not all cleared out, resulting in prolonged exposure.

Mercury is not well absorbed across the skin so skin contact is not likely to cause poisoning from a brief one time exposure. Wash the area well to remove any mercury.

Inhalation of elemental mercury vapors is the main cause of toxicity. To develop toxicity you need a large one time exposure or a long term exposure. A large one time inhalation exposure of mercury vapor may cause these symptoms:

  • chills,
  • metallic taste,
  • mouth sores,
  • swollen gums,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • abdominal pain,
  • diarrhea,
  • headache,
  • weakness,
  • confusion,
  • shortness of breath,
  • cough,
  • chest tightness,
  • bronchitis,
  • pneumonia and
  • kidney damage.

Long term exposure is more dangerous than one time short exposure. Symptoms usually develop over a period of years.

Neurological symptoms may include:

  • tremors,
  • headaches,
  • short-term memory loss,
  • uncoordination,
  • weakness,
  • loss of appetite,
  • altered sense of taste and smell,
  • numbness and tingling in the hands and feet,
  • insomnia, and
  • excessive sweating.

Psychiatric effects are also seen after long term exposure.

Acrodynia can result from repeated exposures to mercury-containing latex paint fumes. Acrodynia is usually seen in younger children. The symptoms may include:

  • chills,
  • sweating,
  • body rash,
  • irritability,
  • sleeplessness,
  • leg cramps,
  • swelling of the cheeks, nose, hands and feet,
  • light-sensitivity to the eyes and
  • peeling skin layers on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

In the general population the main source of mercury poisoning is the ingestion of mercury-contaminated food, usually fish. When waters are contaminated the flesh of fish can contain 1000 times greater amount of mercury than the water.

Methyl-mercury, usually from contaminated food, is very dangerous to pregnant women. It causes profound mental retardation, cerebral palsy, seizures, spasticity, tremors and uncoordination along with eye and hearing damage in the unborn baby. Organic mercury passes into breast milk as well. The Minamata outbreak in Japan was disastrous.

Mercury poisoning from dental amalgam fillings is a reality that is still being debated by governments. Because of its nature mercury is the "perfect" ingredient in fillings either gold or silver.

However, the reaction to antibiotics is a breakdown of the mercury which releases vapor. The simple act of chewing food releases mercury vapor. Vapor enters the body through the lungs and the mucous membranes and spreads throughout the entire body including the brain.

If you have fillings in your teeth, you might want to re-think the diagnosis you have been given by a doctor for these symptoms:

  • Extreme fatigue,
  • dizziness,
  • vertigo,
  • headache/migraine,
  • stiffness and ache in muscles and joints,
  • blurred vision,
  • double vision,
  • impaired coordination of eyes and muscles,
  • increased heart palpations without external cause,
  • frequent infections of the urinary system,
  • frequent sinusitis,
  • prone to infections,
  • menstrual disturbances,
  • anxiety attacks,
  • depressions, mood swings and irritability,
  • shyness,
  • lack of initiative.
  • Allergies,
  • asthma,
  • eczema,
  • hair loss,
  • weight loss,
  • partial loss of hearing and smell,
  • tinnitus,
  • constipation/diarrhea,
  • numbness,
  • cramps,
  • weak muscles,
  • chronic fever/fluctuating temperature,
  • increased sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation.

There is growing evidence that dental amalgam containing mercury can be involved as a contributing factor in diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatic diseases, fibromyalgia, SLE, psoriasis, ulcer colitis, Morbus Crohn, allergies, heart conditons, epilepsy and mental problems such as Alzheimer's.

The concentration of mercury in the brain and the kidneys of autopsied individuals correlates positively to the number of dental amalgams.

Note - in exchanging your dental filling proceed slowly if your dentist does not have protective specialized appliances. Allow 6-8 weeks between removals. Don't forget those crowns and any partials that have wire.

There appears to be many cases of people having to go to an ER for severe mercury poisoning after having their fillings changed by a dentist who did not have the proper equipment or expertise to deal with removal of mercury amalgams. Also, please consider that many many doctors have had their own fillings removed even when they pooh-pooh the idea that there is a connection. They are not taking any chances. Why should you? Make sure you find a dentist who knows what to do and how to do it.

I believe many people have gone to a digital thermometer. However if you have a mercury thermometer and it should break, here are the guidlines to clean it up.

Never sweep the area with a broom. Sweeping breaks the mercury into smaller droplets, further contaminating the room and the broom.

Never vacuum as vacuuming vaporizes the mercury and increases the concentration of mercury in the air.

Never put mercury down the sink drain. It may stay in the plumbing.

Never wash mercury contaminated clothes in the washing machine. Mercury will contaminate the washing machine.

Never walk around if your shoes or socks may be contaminated with mercury. That will spread the mercury droplets all over the house.

Never use household cleaning products to clean the spill, particularly products that contain ammonia or chlorine. These chemicals will react violently with mercury releasing a toxic gas.

If you are wearing gold jewelry, remove it before cleaning the spill. If the liquid mercury contacts the gold jewelry, the mercury bonds permanently to the gold and ruins it. Wear gloves to prevent mercury from lodging under the fingernails while cleaning. Throw the gloves away after cleaning. Wear clothes and shoes that can be thrown away after cleaning if they become contaminated.

Increase ventilation in the room with outside air and close the room off from the rest of the house. If possible use fans for at least one hour.

Pick up the mercury with an eye dropper or scoop up beads with a piece of heavy paper such as playing cards.

Wide sticky tape can be used to pick up any glass particles and mercury beads. (another use for duct tape)

Disposal of broken thermometer

Place the mercury contaminated instruments (paper, tape) and any broken glass in a zipper bag. Place this zipper bag in a second zipper bag and then in a third zipper bad each bag sealed with tape.

Place the bags in a wide-mouth sealable plastic container. Bag up all contaminated clothing, bedding, shoes etc. Call your local health department for the nearest approved mercury disposal location. This is Hazardous Waste.

If you have decided by now to get rid of your mercury thermometer, do not throw it in the trash. You must treat it as hazardous waste even if it is not broken. Think about it. You throw it in the trash, it gets broken at the dump, the mercury contaminates the ground or is released as vapor into the air. Water contaminated, animals contaminated, YOU are contaminated. All over the world, people are throwing away broken and unbroken mercury thermometers.

There are specific tests your physician can have done to determine mercury poisoning. These tests however, will not show if mercury poisoning has contaminated your brain. Only an autopsy will show that.

There are treatments available for metal poisoning. However I have run out of space in this overly long article.


You may share this article but please leave this tag line in place. Sharon Owen Editor of Answers For Your Health

 

 

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