Is Mercuray toxic

Colin Green cgreen at mail.globalnet.co.uk
Fri Mar 20 18:00:46 EST 1998


Certainly mercury salts are toxic, but saying mecury metal
is not toxic is
deceiving to say the least - the events surrounding
discharge of mercury
into Minimata bay in Japan reflect the problems with
metallic mercury.

Although metallic mercury is not directly toxic, it is
readily absorped as
a vapour via the lungs.  Once it reaches the blood stream,
it is converted
to the mercurous salt (Hg++) and this has a direct
nephrotoxic affect on
the proximal tubule (c.f. mercuric chloride - HgCl2).

The other principle method that metallic mercury can
present a hazard is
via waste discharge ("Minimata disease").  Metallic mecury
is easily
metabolised in the environment by bacteria to form
methylmercury -
Hg(CH3)2.  This can accumulate through the food chain and
causes
neurological problems in both adults and children but was
also linked to
cerebral palsy in the foetus - there may also have been
other teratogenic
effects.

Exposure to the small amounts of mecury present in a
thermometer should be
avoided if at all possible - swallowing is not recommended!
 But, IMO, the
small amounts in most thermometers should not present a
large risk unless
the victim is particularly young - after all mercury has
been used in
dental amalgams for years.  Unfortunately, I don't have the
TLEVs or other
numerical data to hand to give hard figures on "safe"
levels.  If exposure
does occur, seek professional medical advice as always.

C Green

marei <marei at xpoint.at> wrote in article
<350dab27.1 at info.xpoint.at>...
> I have tried to know whether Mercury is toxic or not. I
am getting a lot
of
> confusion answers. Mercury salts are toxic, however, is
the swallowing of
> Mercury in small amount (thermometer) is it dangerous.
> I have once read that Mercury metal would not have any
effect
> 
> 
> 



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