Mercury

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Mercury exists in various forms: elemental (or metallic) and inorganic (to which people may be exposed through their occupation); and organic (e.g., methylmercury, to which people may be exposed through their diet). These forms of mercury differ in their degree of toxicity and in their effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, and on lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes. Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil. Exposure to mercury – even small amounts – may cause serious health problems, and is a threat to the development of the child in utero and early in life.
Mercury may have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, and on lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes, is considered by WHO (World Health Organization) as one of the top ten chemicals or groups of chemicals of major public health concern. People are mainly exposed to methylmercury, an organic compound, when they eat fish and shellfish that contain the compound.

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