Contaminant cause

Mercury

Mercury is a chemical element with symbol Hg and atomic number 80. It is commonly known as quicksilver and was formerly named hydrargyrum (/haɪˈdrɑːrdʒərəm/).[4] A heavy, silvery d-block element, mercury is the only metallic element 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, gallium, and rubidium melt just above room temperature.

Mercury occurs in deposits throughout the world mostly as cinnabar (mercuric sulfide). The red pigment vermilion is obtained by grinding natural cinnabar or synthetic mercuric sulfide.

Mercury is used in thermometers, barometers, manometers, sphygmomanometers, float valves, mercury switches, mercury relays, fluorescent lamps and other devices, though concerns about the element's toxicity have led to mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers being largely phased out in clinical environments in favor of alternatives such as alcohol- or galinstan-filled glass thermometers and thermistor- or infrared-based electronic instruments. Likewise, mechanical pressure gauges and electronic strain gauge sensors have replaced mercury sphygmomanometers. Mercury remains in use in scientific research applications and in amalgam for dental restoration in some locales. It is used in fluorescent lighting. Electricity passed through mercury vapor in a fluorescent lamp produces short-wave ultraviolet light which then causes the phosphor in the tube to fluoresce, making visible light.

Risk Factor
0 effects
Measured in mg

Caution

Mercury has been ranked as the third most toxic environmental hazard after arsenic and lead. Common sources of mercury exposure include proximity to mercury mining sites, recycling facilities, medical or municipal incinerators, coal-fired power plants, or mercury-containing latex paint. Dietary sources include fresh water fish or seafood with high mercury content, high-fructose corn syrup, rice, and other dietary products. In addition, dental amalgam is a historic source of mercury exposure. There have also been reports of mercury contamination in beauty products, laxatives, and infant products. Another potential source of mercury is thimerosal-containing vaccines. Thimerosal, a controversial ethylmercury compound that has been used as a preservative in vaccines, has been completely removed from pediatric vaccines and mostly removed from adult products.

Mercury Health Risks

OutcomesEffectEvidenceReferences

Cardiovascular Disease Cardiovascular outcome
Cardiovascular ...
Cardiovascular

Strong Increase

Evidence: High

1 study

Mortality Musculoskeletal outcome
Mortality
Musculoskeletal

Strong Increase

Evidence: High

1 study

Heart Attack (Myocardial infarction - ACS) Cardiovascular outcome
Heart Attack (M...
Cardiovascular

Strong Increase

Evidence: High

1 study

Blood Pressure - Hypertension Cardiovascular outcome
Blood Pressure ...
Cardiovascular

Strong Increase

Needs research

1 study

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