How does methyl mercury affect the body?

The primary health effect of methylmercury is impaired neurological development. Therefore, cognitive thinking, memory, attention, language, and fine motor and visual spatial skills may be affected in children who were exposed to methylmercury as foetuses.

What is the disease caused by methyl mercury?

Minamata disease is a methylmercury poisoning with neurological symptoms and caused by the daily consump- tion of large quantities of fish and shellfish that were heavily contaminated with the toxic chemical generated in chemical factories and then discharged into the sea.

Does methylmercury accumulate in the body?

The difference in the mercury concentration between the mother’s blood and cord blood is because as the methylmercury moves through the human body by combining with hemoglobin and glutathione, fetuses have higher hemoglobin values and because the half-life of methylmercury is long, it accumulates in the human body for …

Does mercury bioaccumulate in humans?

Soil contaminated by mercury or the redistribution of contaminated water has the potential to enter the food chain through plant and livestock [3,4,5]. Once in the food chain mercury can bioaccumulate causing adverse effects to human health [6].

What happens with mercury poisoning?

Some children who are exposed to mercury at a young age may develop learning disabilities, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. Adults with mercury poisoning may have permanent brain and kidney damage. Circulatory failure is another possible type of complication.

What is the main way that people are exposed to methylmercury and pops?

Nearly all methylmercury exposures in the United States occur through eating fish and shellfish that contain higher levels of methylmercury.

What is mercury bioaccumulation?

Like many environmental contaminants, mercury undergoes bioaccumulation. Bioaccumulation is the process by which organisms (including humans) can take up contaminants more rapidly than their bodies can eliminate them, thus the amount of mercury in their body accumulates over time.

How does bioaccumulation of mercury occur?

Bioaccumulation. The most important pathway for mercury bioaccumulation is through the food chain, as illustrated in the figure below. In the water, plants and small organisms like plankton take up mercury through passive surface absorption or through food intake.