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Mercury Poisoning

Inorganic Mercury Poisoning

Inorganic mercury poisoning is a clinical condition where there is a pathologic accumulation of mercury in the blood stream. Inorganic mercury is usually derived from used batteries, cinnabar preparations and common disinfectants. The advertent accumulation of inorganic mercury in the blood affects the brain and lead to kidney failure if left untreated.


Presentation

The following signs and symptoms are typically seen in the patients suffering from inorganic mercury poisoning:

Fatigue
  • A 34-year-old male presented with pyrexia, chill, fatigue, body aches, and pain of the dorsal aspect of right foot.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Meanwhile her 11-year-old sister was hospitalized for evaluation of fatigue, weakness, lower back pain, and ataxia. The older girl's blood mercury concentration, at 5.5 micrograms/dL, was in the toxic range.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The third case showed widespread fasciculation, fatigue, insomnia, weight loss, and autonomic dysfunction, including constipation, micturition difficulty, and impotence, with multiple fibrillation, unstable fasciculation, widened motor neuron potential[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • A 12-year-old male patient was referred to our emergency room because of severe fatigue, generalized muscle pain and weakness, which was present for a month.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • One statistically significant treatment effect was noted-a decrease in fatigue-inertia in the DMSA-group-but there was no demonstrable correlation with increased urinary excretion or decreased blood concentration of mercury.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Dentist
  • We examined a dentist with chronic elemental mercury poisoning electrophysiologically. Motor conduction in the upper and lower limbs was normal.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • You'll need to fill out a form and they will connect with you to find a suitable dentist in your area Holistic Dental Association International Association of Mercury Safe Dentists[articles.mercola.com]
  • Three dentists suffered symptoms of mercury poisoning from the use of this substance in the production of amalgam for dental fillings. The problem of mercury absorption in dental offices has been well documented in the dental literature.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Choose a safe dentist . Many people have become very sick from having a dentist improperly remove a mercury filling. It is important to carefully choose your dentist. Never let a dentist just “drill out”an old filling. Dr.[wholenewmom.com]
  • So, if you currently have dental amalgam fillings, read our next article here about finding a mercury-free dentist who can remove the fillings and replace them with safer alternatives.[universityhealthnews.com]
Weight Loss
  • The first case showed hyperhidrosis, insomnia, generalied myokymia, cramps, tremor, weight loss, and myokymic and neuromyotonic discharges, followed by encephalopathy with confusion, hallucinations, and memory decrease.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The patient had been admitted to the hospital on October 9, 2015 after a 3-4 week history of anorexia, weight loss, and lethargy.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The patients were two brothers (7 and 14 years old) who presented with pain in their lower extremities, sweating, salivation, weight loss, anorexia and mood changes on admission.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • loss, fatigue Recommendations for doctors: Include questions about skin-lightening cream use in patient history.[health.state.mn.us]
  • Symptoms of mercury poisoning from fillings may include: Weakness Fatigue Gastrointestinal distress Headache Widespread joint pain Skin rashes Weight loss Reduced color vision and visual acuity Decreased coordination Poor fine motor control Tremor Memory[universityhealthnews.com]
Anemia
  • […] toxic in relation to their ability to produce mercuric ions; usually acute mercury poisoning is associated with ulcerations of the mouth (including loosening of teeth), stomach, and intestine in addition to toxic changes in the renal tubules; anuria and anemia[medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com]
  • Symptoms that can be caused by a deficiency of minerals displaced by mercury include: Magnesium: irregular heartbeat, receding gums Iron: anemia Copper: anemia, thyroid dysfunction, impaired digestion Zinc: anorexia nervosa, loss of taste and smell, loss[evenbetterhealth.com]
  • If something is not going well with their blood cells forming, they may have issues similar to anemia, feeling very tired, easy bleeding or bruising. With organic mercury exposure, the symptoms are pretty much the same, but probably not respiratory.[scientificamerican.com]
  • […] reactivity thyroid disturbance subnormal body temperature cold, clammy skin, especially hands and feet excessive perspiration, w/frequent night sweats unexplained sensory symptoms, including pain unexplained numbness or burning sensations unexplained anemia-G[healyounaturally.com]
  • I recovered from chronic fatigue , polycystic ovarian syndrome, anemia, metabolic syndrome, headaches , and insomnia . I want to share the steps I took to recover. It's importan to add that these steps may not be the ones that you need to take.[wholenewmom.com]
Malaise
  • A 4-year-old girl was admitted to the hospital with a history of fever and increasing irritability, fatigue, malaise, insomnia, headache, anorexia, and ataxia. She was discharged two days later with a diagnosis of acute cerebellar ataxia.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Neurasthenia is a nonspecific constellation of fatigue, malaise, headache, hypersensitivity to stimuli, and psychosomatic complaints.[calpoison.org]
Vomiting
  • Stomach irritation can induce vomiting, abdominal colic and diarrhea. The fervent accumulation of inorganic mercury has been histologically proven to center in the kidneys and the brain matter.[symptoma.com]
  • Acute mercury poisoning causes nausea and vomiting, pain in the abdomen and diarrhoea.[medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com]
  • For inorganic mercury, symptoms might include profuse vomiting and diarrhea that is often bloody, followed by hypovolemic shock, oliguric (decreased urine production) renal failure, and possibly death.[floridahealth.gov]
  • John had told Reed that was prone to mood swings, depression, anxiety, insomnia and spontaneous vomiting.[dailymail.co.uk]
  • Depending on how much is swallowed, symptoms may include: Burning in the stomach and throat Bloody diarrhea and vomiting If inorganic mercury enters your bloodstream, it can attack the kidneys and brain.[medlineplus.gov]
Nausea
  • We report a case of a 35-year-old rural woman, who took almost 35 g of Hg2O orally to treat her itchy skin followed a folk prescription of an unlicensed practitioners engaging in quackery (UPEQ), which lead to dark red bloody stool and mucus, nausea,[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • A 52-year-old Caucasian woman was admitted to the hospital with high fever, sore throat, a rash over her entire body, itching, nausea, and extensive muscle pain. She had cervical, bilateral axillary and mediastinal lymphadenopathies.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • On the seventh day of his admission, he developed headache and nausea, and bilateral papilledema and intracranial hypertension were detected on physical examination.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms include a metallic taste, gingivostomatitis, nausea and hypersalivation.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Acute mercury poisoning causes nausea and vomiting, pain in the abdomen and diarrhoea.[medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com]
Diarrhea
  • Stomach irritation can induce vomiting, abdominal colic and diarrhea. The fervent accumulation of inorganic mercury has been histologically proven to center in the kidneys and the brain matter.[symptoma.com]
  • A 36-year-old woman presented to the ED with a three-day history of abdominal pain, diarrhea and fever. One week ago her daughter had brought mercury in the liquid form from the school. She had put it on the heating stove.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The acute form, due to ingestion, is marked by severe abdominal pain, metallic taste in the mouth, vomiting, oliguria or anuria at onset, followed by bloody diarrhea, and corrosion and ulceration of the entire digestive tract.[medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com]
  • For inorganic mercury, symptoms might include profuse vomiting and diarrhea that is often bloody, followed by hypovolemic shock, oliguric (decreased urine production) renal failure, and possibly death.[floridahealth.gov]
  • A large amount in the bloodstream may cause massive blood and fluid loss from diarrhea and kidney failure, leading to death.[medlineplus.gov]
Loss of Appetite
  • Symptoms of acrodynia include irritability, insomnia , loss of appetite, loosening of teeth, inflammation of the mouth, and redness of the skin. Poisoning with organic mercurial compounds is characterized by lesions of the central nervous system .[britannica.com]
  • […] of appetite/with or without weight loss ( source & full list here ) Here is the original article and huge list of symptoms of Mercury Poisoning Mercury Poisoned .[healyounaturally.com]
  • […] of appetite, low libido, PMS Iodine: thyroid dysfunction Some digestive problems can be caused by parasite or bacterial infection such as helicobacter secondary to immune system suppression by mercury.[evenbetterhealth.com]
  • […] of appetite/with or without weight loss loss of weight hypoglycemia PLEASE REPORT BROKEN LINKS TO marieflow (at) aol.com" marie [email protected][mercurypoisoned.com]
  • His suffering from sustained headaches, vertigo, toothache, loss of appetite, and lasting bad colic complete the picture of advanced slow mercury poisoning.[stanford.edu]
Abdominal Pain
  • A 36-year-old woman presented to the ED with a three-day history of abdominal pain, diarrhea and fever. One week ago her daughter had brought mercury in the liquid form from the school. She had put it on the heating stove.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The acute form, due to ingestion, is marked by severe abdominal pain, metallic taste in the mouth, vomiting, oliguria or anuria at onset, followed by bloody diarrhea, and corrosion and ulceration of the entire digestive tract.[medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com]
  • The signs and symptoms may also include cough, sore throat, abdominal pain, metallic taste in mouth, headache, visual disturbances, chest pain, swallowing difficulties, etc.[dovemed.com]
  • GI effects seen include gingivostomatitis, hypersalivation (ptyalism), non-specific abdominal pain, and nausea. A metallic taste is sometimes reported.[calpoison.org]
Metallic Taste
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms include a metallic taste, gingivostomatitis, nausea and hypersalivation.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The acute form, due to ingestion, is marked by severe abdominal pain, metallic taste in the mouth, vomiting, oliguria or anuria at onset, followed by bloody diarrhea, and corrosion and ulceration of the entire digestive tract.[medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com]
  • Regardless of how many fillings you have, though, look out for a metallic taste in your mouth. That’s a sign the mercury has begun to leak into your system.[davidwolfe.com]
  • MERCURY (QUICK SILVER) Properties of Mercury (as a transition metal):  It has a Metallic taste.  Since transition metals possess the shades of grey- brown-white, mercury decolourizes the mucous membranes (e.g gums) grey, and the lens of the eye brown[slideshare.net]
  • Symptoms may include a metallic taste and excessive production of saliva; inflammation of the membranes of the mouth; loosening of the teeth; the formation of a blue line on the gums; pain , numbness, and tremor in the extremities; loss of weight and[britannica.com]
Hypersalivation
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms include a metallic taste, gingivostomatitis, nausea and hypersalivation.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • GI effects seen include gingivostomatitis, hypersalivation (ptyalism), non-specific abdominal pain, and nausea. A metallic taste is sometimes reported.[calpoison.org]
Drooling
  • Price Since Roman times, when slaves worked the cinnabar mines, mercury has been known to cause a wide range of symptoms, including headaches, tremors, drooling, difficulty walking, and eventually, death.[news.nationalgeographic.com]
Hypertension
  • However, it was also necessary to concurrently treat her hypertension and the pain associated with her acrodynia.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Although headache is the most common symptom in mercury poisoning, the clinician should evaluate the fundus in terms of intracranial hypertension.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • These results accurately reflect the recent epidemiological disease tendencies in Japan toward a decreased incidence of hypertension and an increased incidence of diabetes.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • A 14-year-old boy was seen because of irritability, insomnia, lethargy, and profuse sweating, together with hypertension (blood pressure: 160/120 mm Hg), tachycardia, and a diffuse erythematous rash with desquamation of the palms and soles.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • In the hospital, he developed a maculopapular rash, acrodynia (painful, pink discoloration of the hands and feet), tachycardia, hypertension, weakness, sweating, excessive salivation, and altered mental status.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Loss of Peripheral Vision
  • Possible symptoms of methylmercury poisoning may include: loss of peripheral vision "pins and needles" feelings, usually in the hands, feet, and around the mouth lack of coordination of movements impairment of speech, hearing, walking muscle weakness[epa.gov]
  • Of peripheral vision (by altering interocular fluid eye pressure) (9, 15, 19) Vitamin C Deficiency Weakness in muscles (15) Weight Gain White Coating On the Tongue Yeast Syndrome/Candida Zinc Deficiency DETECTION Blood tests are practically useless to[liveto110.com]
Muscle Cramp
  • Signs of mercury toxicity in the musculoskeletal system include tender muscles, rapid muscle fatigue, joint stiffness, muscle cramps, muscle weakness, and TMJ dysfunction.[lahealthyliving.com]
  • Leg and muscle cramps may be due to potassium deficiency. Lithium is sometimes given as lithium carbonate to patients suffering from bipolar depression (manic depressive illness) since lack of lithium is one of the causes of the disease.[evenbetterhealth.com]
  • Tender, sore muscles Rapid muscle fatigue Joint pain Joint swelling Joint stiffness Muscle cramps Low-back pain Muscle weakness Jaw joint dysfunction (TMJD) THE CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM AND HEART Mercury collects in the heart muscle and valves and has been[evolvedental.com.au]
Emotional Lability
  • Fanconi syndrome ) or neuropsychiatric symptoms such as emotional lability , memory impairment, or insomnia . Thus, the clinical presentation may resemble pheochromocytoma or Kawasaki disease .[en.wikipedia.org]
Anuria
  • Anuria persisted for 14 days. She was treated by plasma exchange, hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis in combination with continued dimercaprol chelation.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The acute form, due to ingestion, is marked by severe abdominal pain, metallic taste in the mouth, vomiting, oliguria or anuria at onset, followed by bloody diarrhea, and corrosion and ulceration of the entire digestive tract.[medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com]
Oliguria
  • The following signs and symptoms are typically seen in the patients suffering from inorganic mercury poisoning: Sore throat Dyspepsia and pyrosis Abdominal colic Vomiting Diarrhea Dehydration Desquamation of the skin Oliguria Peripheral neuropathy Blindness[symptoma.com]
  • The acute form, due to ingestion, is marked by severe abdominal pain, metallic taste in the mouth, vomiting, oliguria or anuria at onset, followed by bloody diarrhea, and corrosion and ulceration of the entire digestive tract.[medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com]
Tremor
  • Mercury toxicity causes postural tremors, commonly referred to as "mercurial tremors," and cerebellar dysfunction. A 23-year woman, 2 years after injecting herself with elemental mercury developed disabling generalized myoclonus and ataxia.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The patient developed a myriad of physical and psychiatric complaints, including stomatitis, muscle spasm, tremor, skin rash and the psychiatric syndrome known as 'erythism' (Mad Hatter's disease).[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • They also suffered from elevated clinical levels of psychiatric symptomatology, including anxiety, depression and phobic avoidance, and neurological symptoms of tremor, weakness in the limbs, and excessive sweating.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The first case showed hyperhidrosis, insomnia, generalied myokymia, cramps, tremor, weight loss, and myokymic and neuromyotonic discharges, followed by encephalopathy with confusion, hallucinations, and memory decrease.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The most commonly seen complaints are headache, tremor, impaired cognitive skills, weakness, muscle atrophy, and paresthesia.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Headache
  • The most commonly seen complaints are headache, tremor, impaired cognitive skills, weakness, muscle atrophy, and paresthesia.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Then, just like that, the headaches were gone. Headaches that result from mercury poisoning may be part of what’s known as ‘metal fume fever.’[davidwolfe.com]
  • A 4-year-old girl was admitted to the hospital with a history of fever and increasing irritability, fatigue, malaise, insomnia, headache, anorexia, and ataxia. She was discharged two days later with a diagnosis of acute cerebellar ataxia.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Headache was the most common presenting complaint. The results of physical and neurological examinations were normal in 80 (44.6 %) children.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • These symptoms might include paresthesias, headaches, ataxia, dysarthria (motor speech disorder), visual field constriction, blindness, and hearing impairment. Laboratory Tests: Blood, urine and hair can be tested for mercury.[floridahealth.gov]
Insomnia
  • The first case showed hyperhidrosis, insomnia, generalied myokymia, cramps, tremor, weight loss, and myokymic and neuromyotonic discharges, followed by encephalopathy with confusion, hallucinations, and memory decrease.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • A 14-year-old boy was seen because of irritability, insomnia, lethargy, and profuse sweating, together with hypertension (blood pressure: 160/120 mm Hg), tachycardia, and a diffuse erythematous rash with desquamation of the palms and soles.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • A 4-year-old girl was admitted to the hospital with a history of fever and increasing irritability, fatigue, malaise, insomnia, headache, anorexia, and ataxia. She was discharged two days later with a diagnosis of acute cerebellar ataxia.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • John had told Reed that was prone to mood swings, depression, anxiety, insomnia and spontaneous vomiting.[dailymail.co.uk]
  • . #4 – Insomnia Chronic insomnia is a common problem among industrial workers exposed to mercury. This is largely due to the way the metal affects your thyroid.[davidwolfe.com]
Ataxia
  • A 4-year-old girl was admitted to the hospital with a history of fever and increasing irritability, fatigue, malaise, insomnia, headache, anorexia, and ataxia. She was discharged two days later with a diagnosis of acute cerebellar ataxia.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • A 23-year woman, 2 years after injecting herself with elemental mercury developed disabling generalized myoclonus and ataxia. Electrophysiological studies confirmed the myoclonus was probably of cortical origin.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • […] intestine and toxic changes in the renal tubules; anuria and anemia may occur; chronic mercury poisoning is usually a result of industrial poisoning and causes gastrointestinal or central nervous system manifestations including stomatitis, diarrhea, ataxia[medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com]
  • These symptoms might include paresthesias, headaches, ataxia, dysarthria (motor speech disorder), visual field constriction, blindness, and hearing impairment. Laboratory Tests: Blood, urine and hair can be tested for mercury.[floridahealth.gov]
  • […] layers of skin - a process called desquamation Skin rashes that come and go Ulcers on the gums Other signs and symptoms of Chronic Mercury Poisoning may include: Increased heart rate (tachycardia) and increased blood pressure Lack of coordination or ataxia[dovemed.com]
Erethism
  • Many hat makers developed erethism mercurialis, a form of chronic neurological mercury poisoning that affects the entire nervous system. Some of the symptoms of erethism are tremors, nervousness, and insomnia.[wired.co.uk]
  • Many hatmakers got erethism, a form of chronic neurological mercury poisoning, which presented a range of symptoms including tremors, nervousness, and insomnia.[vox.com]
  • Very dangerous, it meant that the hatters were subject to erethism, a neurological disorder which affects the whole central nervous system.[dailymail.co.uk]
  • .  Erethism:  Disturbance of personality, characterised by shyness, irritability, tremors, loss of memory and insomnia. Brown discoloration of the capsule of lens of the eye due to deposition of mercury (mercuria lentis) – It is observed through a[slideshare.net]
  • A thorough history and physical exam may alert the physician to the potential for mercury poisoning if tremors and erethism (several neuropsychiatric problems concurrently such as anxiety , depression , memory loss, excessive shyness, and irritability[emedicinehealth.com]

Workup

The following diagnostic modalities and tests are preliminarily done for the work up of patients suffering from inorganic mercurial poisoning:

  • Urine Test: Urine samples are taken from suspected patients and the concentration of mercury is determined. Mercurial concentration of at least 10 ug/L is a positive finding in mercury poisoning.
  • Blood Test: In the same way, a serum mercurial concentration of at least 10 ug/L indicates inorganic mercury poisoning.
  • Environmental Test: Samples from the environment of the patient (such as water source) are taken for mercurial analysis. Food sources like fishes from local water sources may also be investigated for mercurial accumulation. 
  • Nerve Biopsy: Neural biopsy of nerve cells reveals progressive demyelination and axonal degeneration with inorganic mercury toxicity [8]. 
  • Hair samples: A concentration of at least 1.2 mcg/g of mercury found in the hair shaft is indicative of heavy mercurial exposure [9]. 
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Analysis: CSF analysis using spectroscopy can reveal the relative levels of mercury concentrations in the brain matter. 

Treatment

The patients who are suspected of having mercury poisoning are usually treated as an emergency. The airways and breathing are primarily secured in the emergency room setting. Copious irrigation of the contaminated skin and the removal of the contaminated clothing are done. Patients with inorganic mercury poisoning benefit from a gastric lavage with activated charcoal. Chelating agents like thiol containing compounds and dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) are arbitrarily used for symptomatic patients to unload the mercurial load in the serum [10]. In severe cases of toxicity with impending renal failure, hemodialysis affords an effective means of clearing the accumulated mercury from the system thereby preventing it from accumulating in the brain and kidneys.

Prognosis

The morbidity associated with mercury toxicity is usually dependent on the level of toxicity. In the severe case of Minamata Bay incident, a large number of patients fell into coma and consequentially died.

Mercury toxicity absorbed through the skin can have a delayed intoxication reaction in some patients [4]. Dietary mercurial toxicity is associated with dietary levels more than 0.5 mcg of mercury per kilogram body weight [5]. In general, dietary mercury toxicity is usually due to the ingestion of mercury contaminated fishes [6]. The majority of patients suffering from mercury poisoning develop neurologic and renal symptoms. Inorganic mercury and organic mercury toxicity can both be devastating to the fetus which can either lead to intrauterine death or growth retardation.

Etiology

Inorganic mercury poisoning results from the ingestion and absorption of inorganic mercury and its active salts into the blood stream. Inorganic mercury can be found from the following sources:

  • Thermometer
  • Chemistry laboratory
  • Batteries
  • Folk medicines
  • Red cinnabar minerals
  • Disinfectants

Epidemiology

The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) have announced that in the year 2011, that there have been at least 1700 reports of patients with single exposure to mercury and its compounds [1]. Almost 44% were older than 19 years and 9% were children younger than 6 years. Among these cases, only 2.4% were noted to have moderate to severe clinical complications; while no mortalities were noted.

One of the most popular mercury poisoning occurred in the communities of Minamata Bay in Japan. The largest mass poisoning of mercury occurred in Iraq in the 1970's when 95,000 tons of mercury-based fungicide-treated grains were accidentally baked for consumption [2]. Although most of the patients were underdiagnosed, almost 6,000 Iraqi citizens were hospitalized because of the mishap and hundreds consequently died. In China, there were a significant number of cases of mercury toxicity and poisoning due to contaminated rice from mining activities [3].

Sex distribution
Age distribution

Pathophysiology

Mercury in all its forms in nature can be ingested, absorbed through the skin or inhaled through the respiratory system. Inorganic mercury is usually not harmful in smaller quantities but exposure to large quantities of the element can have corrosive effects on the cells. The throat and the esophagus may consequently be irritated conveying a burning sensation. Stomach irritation can induce vomiting, abdominal colic and diarrhea. The fervent accumulation of inorganic mercury has been histologically proven to center in the kidneys and the brain matter. Irreversible kidney failure has been observed in severe mercury toxicities leading to coma and death. Neurologic symptoms like blindness, behavioral changes, headache, loss of coordination, and seizures are eminent in case of cerebral and cerebellar accumulation of the inorganic mercurial salts. 

Molecularly, mercurial accumulation irreversibly stops selenium-based enzymes and S-adenosyl-methionine which are needed for the catabolism of catecholamines. The consequent accumulation of the catecholamine epinephrine clinically leads to profuse sweating, tachycardia, salivation, and hypertension among affected patients.

Prevention

Caution must be taken when handling pure mercury in the laboratory by using protective gloves. Old batteries must be disposed properly to prevent the accumulation of inorganic mercury in the environment. Skin disinfectants that contain mercury based compounds must be used judiciously to prevent the inadvertent accumulation of the element.

Summary

Inorganic mercury poisoning is a type of metal poisoning from the element mercury directly absorbed from the environment. Inorganic mercury represents the volatile and elemental form of mercury. It can occur in salted forms in nature like mercurous chloride and mercuric chloride.

Inorganic mercury may not be toxic in small doses; however, in large doses, it acts as a corrosive and causes gastrointestinal symptoms.

Patient Information

Inorganic mercury poisoning is a clinical condition in whiche there is a pathologic accumulation of inorganic mercury in the blood stream and some vital organs. Inorganic mercury can inadvertently be ingested or absorbed through the skin from environmental contaminants like battery effluents, laboratory discharges, and folk culture medicine preparations. 

The severity of inorganic mercury poisoning depends upon the amount of the mercury that is loaded into the system. Gastrointestinal symptoms like throat irritation, indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea are seen. Neurologic signs of visual disturbances, loss of balance, and seizures may also be prominent. With severe toxicity, failure of kidneys may take place. Supportive care is imperative in the emergency setting in this kind of poisoning.

References

Article

  1. Bronstein AC, Spyker DA, Cantilena LR Jr, Rumack BH, Dart RC. 2011 Annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Data System (NPDS): 29th Annual Report. Clin Toxicol (Phila). Dec 2012; 50(10):911-1164.
  2. Amin-zaki L, Majeed MA, Clarkson TW, Greenwood MR. Methylmercury poisoning in Iraqi children: clinical observations over two years. Br Med J. Mar 11 1978; 1(6113):613-6.
  3. Feng X, Li P, Qiu G, et al. Human exposure to methylmercury through rice intake in mercury mining areas, Guizhou province, China. Environ Sci Technol. Jan 1 2008; 42(1):326-32.
  4. Nierenberg DW, Nordgren RE, Chang MB, et al. Delayed cerebellar disease and death after accidental exposure to dimethylmercury. N Engl J Med. Jun 4 1998; 338(23):1672-6. 
  5. EPA. Water quality criterion for the protection of human health: methylmercury. Environmental Protection Agency. Jan 2001; EPA-823-R-01-001.
  6. ATSDR. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Toxicological Profile for Mercury. ATSDR. August 1997.
  7. Langford NJ, Ferner RE (1999). "Toxicity of mercury" (PDF). Journal of Human Hypertension 13 (10): 651–6. doi:10.1038/sj.jhh.1000896. PMID 10516733.
  8. Chu CC, Huang CC, Ryu SJ, Wu TN. Chronic inorganic mercury induced peripheral neuropathy. Acta Neurol Scand. Dec 1998; 98(6):461-5.
  9. Li YF, Chen C, Li B, et al. Scalp hair as a biomarker in environmental and occupational mercury exposed populations: suitable or not?. Environ Res. May 2008; 107(1):39-44.
  10. Forman J, Moline J, Cernichiari E, et al. A cluster of pediatric metallic mercury exposure cases treated with meso-2, 3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA). Environ Health Perspect. Jun 2000; 108(6):575-7.

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Last updated: 2018-06-22 06:31