Where: air, water and soil
State: Metallic mercury is a shiny, silver-white, odorless liquid.
Reactivity: Heat -> colorless, odorless gas
Other elements -> powders or crystals
Uses: Thermometers, dental fillings, batteries, skin creams, ointments.
Mercury can pass through the food chain and build up in fish, shellfish and animals that eat fish.
Exposure to high levels of mercury can damage the brain and kidneys.
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Is FISH as healthy as all the hype makes out?
Despite all the hype about how fish is great for vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, most fish contain some level of mercury due to an abundance of pollutants.
Elemental mercury from rocks and soil exists naturally in lakes and streams. This is converted to organic methylmercury, which binds tightly to the proteins in fish tissue and is concentrated in fish higher up the food chain.
When consumed it is toxic to humans because it is very hard for the body to eliminate. This allows it to build up in the system where it can eventually affect the central nervous system.
Exposure to methylmercury / mercury largely through fish consumption. The toxin accumulates in fish, as it does in humans, therefore big fish that eat other fish typically contain high levels of mercury. This includes meatier fish such as swordfish, shark, mackerel, and tuna. Swordfish had the highest correlation with mercury levels out of the 30 fish used in the study. Fish that generally have low levels of mercury include salmon, flounder, cod, catfish and trout.
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