Mercury is a chemical element with the symbol Hg and atomic number 80. A heavy, silvery d-block element, mercury is the only metal that is liquid at standard conditions for temperature and pressure; the only other element that is liquid under these conditions is bromine, though metals such as caesium, francium, gallium, and rubidium melt just above room temperature.
Chronic Mercury Poisoning Mercury poisoning (also knownas hydrargyria or mercurialism) is a disease caused by exposure to mercury or its compounds. Mercury (chemical symbol Hg) is a heavy metal occurring in several forms, all of which can produce toxic effects in high enough doses.
PreventionMercury poisoning can be prevented (or minimized) by eliminating or reducing exposure to mercury and mercury compounds. To that end, many governments and private groups have made efforts to regulateheavily the use of mercury, or to issue advisories about its use.
Diagnosis Diagnosis of elemental or inorganic mercury poisoning involves determining the history of exposure, physical findings, and an elevated body burden of mercury. If the exposure is chronic, urine levels can be obtained; 24-hourcollections are more reliable than spot collections. It is difficult or impossible to interpret urine samples of patients undergoing chelation therapy, as thetherapy itself increases mercury levels in the samples
Signs and Symptoms Psychological Disturbances Fits of anger, short term memory loss, low self-esteem, inability to sleep, loss of self-control, sleepiness are some signs of psychological disturbances. Besides, a person may also suffer from the loss of ability to learn new things or things that require memorization.
Oral Cavity ProblemsInflammation of themouth, loss of bonearound teeth, ulceratedgums and other areas inthe mouth, darkening ofgums, taste of metal,bleeding gums, etc.point to a possibility ofmercury poisoning. Digestive Tract Problems Cramps, inflamed colon, diarrhea and other digestive problems are also indicative of mercury poisoning.
Cardiovascular ProblemsWeak pulse, blood pressure changes, chest painor feeling of pressure in the chest area are somecardiovascular problems associated with thiscondition. Respiratory problems Weakness and problems with breathing, emphysema, persistent cough are some respiratory problems that are linked with mercury poisoning.Neurological ProblemsHeadaches, vertigo, tinnitus, twitching invarious areas of the body (eyelids, feet etc.),may be warning signs of mercuryoverexposure.
Treatment Identifying and removing the source of the mercury is crucial. Decontamination requires removal of clothes, washing skin with soap and water, and flushing the eyes with saline solution as needed. Inorganic ingestion such as mercuricchloride should be approached as theingestion of any other serious caustic. Immediate chelation therapy is the standard of care for a patientshowing symptoms of severe mercury poisoning or the laboratory evidence of a large total mercury load
Dental CorrelationThis is indirect evidence suggesting that mercury from dental amalgam fillings may contribute to the body burden of mercury in the brain. The toxic levels of mercury in human tissues have not been sufficiently investigated and the amount of mercury in humanbrain tissue from dental amalgam may or may not be clinically significant. Nevertheless, dental amalgamexposure should be considered in monitoring sources of mercury accumulation in human brain tissue.
Dental amalgam fillings contain mercury and other metals.Because mercury has long been recognized as poisonous to humans, concerns about the potential of mercury poisoning from dental amalgams have been addressed by abundantresearch. Most scientific studies find no relationship between amalgam fillings and symptoms of mercury poisoning in any age group, although a small number of people have allergic reactions to these fillings. Research continues in order to expand knowledge about any potential effects of amalgamfillings on certain populations, particularly fetuses, breast-fed infants, and very young children.
Freya Koss (right) was diagnosed withMyasthenia Gravis after being stuckwith double vision and ptotis(drooping eyelids) after havingamalgam fillings placed. Freya in 2002 after safe amalgam removal and detoxification. She is now Director of Development for Consumers for Dental Choice.