Mercury By: Natalie Cotton & Michelle Solsbery
Mercury (chemical symbol Hg) is a heavy metal that occurs in several forms, all of which can produce toxic effects in high enough doses. What is it?
Sensory impairment (vision impairment, smell, hearing, speech), lack of coordination, and disturbed sensation. • Skin discoloration • Perfuse sweating • Swelling • Desquamation (shedding of skin) Symptoms
Food Poisoning: animals ingesting mercury containing organisms, breathing contaminated air, and eating contaminated soil and water. • Most mercury food poisoning comes from fish. • Human Generated Sources: coal plants emit mercury fumes • Volcanoes: emit mercury fumes Types/causes of Poisoning
Damage to the brain, kidney, and lungs • Can result in several diseases, including acrodynia (pink disease), Hunter-Russell syndrome, and Minamata disease. • kidney disfunction (e.g. Fanconi syndrome) • Neuropsychiatric symptoms such as emotional lability, memory impairment, or insomnia. • Red cheeks, nose and lips • Loss of hair, teeth, and nails • Transient rashes • Hypotonia (muscle weakness) • Increased sensitivity to light Toxic Effects
Exposure to mercury can occur from breathing contaminated air; from eating foods containing mercury residues from processing, such as can occur with high-fructose corn syrup; from exposure to mercury vapor in mercury amalgam dental restorations; and from improper use or disposal of mercury and mercury-containing objects, for example, after spills of elemental mercury or improper disposal of fluorescent lamps. How/Where is it Commonly Found?
Brahe was poisoned with mercury on the orders of Christian IV, the King of Denmark, because the astronomer had an affair with his mother. • It is even suggested that Shakespeare used the alleged liaison as an inspiration for Hamlet. • It was believed that that his cousin slipped mercury into Brahe's drink. Tests on his hair showed mercury levels one hundred times above normal as a result of ingesting a large quantity of the liquid metal about 13 hours before his death, coinciding with the visit from his cousin. Tycho Brahe
"Hamlet May Have Poisoned Stargazer Tycho Brahe in Mercury Murder - Times Online." The Times | UK News, World News and Opinion. Web. 19 Jan. 2011. <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article5569868.ece>. • "Symptoms of Mercury Poisoning - Mercury Prognosis - Detoxification Guide." Alternative Medicine Resources For Health Care Professionals and Patients. Web. 19 Jan. 2011. <http://heartspring.net/mercury_poison_symptoms.html>. Cites Used: