Dangers of Mercury

Mercury PoisonMercury has long been known to have harmful effects on humans and wildlife. Mercury, a heavy metal, is a toxic, persistent, bioaccumulative pollutant. The adverse health effects caused by mercury impact the neurologic and renal systems. Mercury can harm the developing fetus as well as young children whose neurological systems are still developing. Fish consumption by pregnant women or direct consumption of fish by young children is the primary pathway of exposure. There are also general populations of citizens at risk who eat large amounts of contaminated fish from local waters because of economic or cultural reasons. Mercury contamination is the most frequent reason for fish advisories, represented in 60 percent of all water bodies with advisories. Forty states have advisories for mercury in one or more water bodies, and nine states have issued statewide mercury advisories.