Fish with Mercury in It- Why the Big Fuss?

Why is mercury something that people are always concerned about? Pregnant women in particular are warned to stay away from foods (namely fish) that contain mercury- but why? What makes mercury such a big, scary deal, and what does it do to the body if too much is consumed or absorbed? Here is what I found out…

Mercury causes neurological damage in people, particularly people who are still developing or growing, such as a young child, or a fetus growing in the womb. Birth defects have been noted in pregnant women who were exposed to high levels of mercury, and the most common form of mercury exposure is in the form of eating fish that contain highly toxic levels of mercury.

Mercury causes neurological damage, including Alzheimers, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, and autism (in fetuses and growing children). Lack of full development in the brain is also a side-effect of mercury exposure. The human body can store mercury that is absorbed in the air, and the average human body actually contains up to 15 mg of mercury at any given time. Mercury is stored in the organs, mostly the kidneys and liver. When mercury travels through the bloodstream and into the brain, neurological damage is the result.

Avoiding high levels of mercury is key to prevention, such as avoiding fish with high levels of mercury in it (fish eat micro-organisms that contain mercury and it gets passed into people via consumption of fish). Consuming fish high in mercury is the main way people get too much mercury in their systems, which causes neurological problems. Also, being careful around mercury thermometers and areas with higher levels of mercury (such as photography studios and hospitals and waste) can help lower mercury exposure.


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