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Fact Sheet - Mercury

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  • Exposure to mercury occurs from breathing contaminated air, ingesting contaminated water and food, and having dental and medical treatments.
 Full Text [Fact #290]
  • Exposure to high levels of metallic, inorganic, or organic mercury can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and developing fetus.
 Full Text [Fact #294]
  • Short-term exposure to high levels of metallic mercury vapors may cause effects including lung damage, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increases in blood pressure or heart rate, skin rashes, and eye irritation.
 Full Text [Fact #307]
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that mercuric chloride and methylmercury are possible human carcinogens.
 Full Text [Fact #317]
  • An infant may be exposed to mercury through breast milk.
 Full Text [Fact #321]
  • Mercury passed from the mother to the fetus may cause brain damage, mental retardation, incoordination, blindness, seizures, and inability to speak.
 Full Text [Fact #327]
  • To reduce exposure to mercury, carefully handle and dispose of products that contain mercury, such as thermometers or fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Twenty thousand tons of mercury are released into the environment each year by human activities such as combustion of fossil fuels and other industrial releases.


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