Firstly, where is the mercury coming from? Everywhere apparently! The most common poisonings come from ingesting fish such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tuna. The mercury comes from the environmental build up of industrial wastes and other sources and is concentrated up the food chain: fish “a” is contaminated by its environment. Fish “b” eats fish “a”, fish “c” eats fish “b” and so on, each time, the mercury is concentrated in the flesh of the fish further up the food chain. Subsequently, the EPA advises women of child bearing age, nursing, or pregnant women, and young children to avoid eating the above mentioned fish.
What about amalgam fillings? The US National Institute of Health have ruled amalgam fillings to be safe, but there remains controversy over these findings. Some countries in Northern Europe: Norway, Sweden and Denmark have banned amalgam fillings. Amalgam poses an environmental risk as well. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 50% of environmental mercury levels come dentistry; manufacture of fillings, etc.
Symptoms of mercury poisoning include poor coordination, and impaired vision, speech and hearing. According to these symptoms, I have mercury poisoning every morning before my daily caffeine fix, but I digress. Additional signs include desquamation;a mass shedding of skin. Pink disease, a condition characterized by pain and pink discoloration of the hands and feet affected children in the first half of the 20th century. This was likely caused by a teething powder containing Calomel that contained mercury. Childhood occurrences of Pink Disease decreased dramatically after Calomel was removed in the early 1950’s. Mercury mainly attacks the central nervous system – your brain and spinal cord, the endocrine system – anything to do with hormones/neurotransmitters, and your kidneys.
Thiomersal, containing mercury, is a preservative used in vaccines. There is much controversy around thiomersal being the cause of autism in children. I don’t weigh in on either side, but since this controversy began, there are fewer vaccines containing thiomersal. It should be noted however, the FDA, WHO and the Institute of Medicine has reject the hypothesis that thiomersal plays any role in developing autism.
Some skin whitening products, popular in Asian culture have been found to contain 9,000 to 60,000 times the recommended exposure to mercury. These cosmetics are banned in the US, but some still manage to make it onto the market, so be wary and read, read, read ingredient labels. Please note that these skin whitening products are not the same toxic products the Geisha women were using. Their white face make up used to contain lead, not mercury.
Florescent light bulbs release mercury when broken in the form of liquid and vapour. There are safe methods to dispose of broken bulbs and many municipalities or counties have rules and regulations governing the safe clean up and disposal of florescent bulbs. Unlike you may currently practice, florescent bulbs are NOT to be thrown out with regular garbage or recycling.