Mercury

Optimal Result: 0 - 14.9 ug/L.

Mercury (Hg) is a heavy metal element. It exists in three forms: elemental, inorganic, and organic. All three of these forms of mercury can be toxic, causing several health problems. Elemental mercury is a silver colored liquid that is used in old thermometers, artisan will gold mining, dentistry, and certain other industries. It is poorly absorbed through the skin or G.I. tract but elemental mercury vapors are readily absorbed by the lungs. Inorganic mercury in certain industries and laboratories—serious exposures are rare. In the United States, most mercury exposure occurs in the form of organic mercury, specifically the consumption of Mercury contaminated fish. Normal whole blood mercury is usually <10 ng/mL. People who work in certain occupations may have levels up to 15 ng/mL routinely. A value greater than 50 ng/mL usually indicates significant mercury exposure.

Normal Ranges for Mercury:

Normal (all ages): 0-9 ng/mL

 

Sources:

https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1175560-overview#a4

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/mercury-toxicity

What does it mean if your Mercury result is too low?

You mercury level cannot be too low.

What does it mean if your Mercury result is too high?

Mercury is toxic to humans. Elevated levels of mercury are caused by exposure to the heavy metal. Symptoms of mercury toxicity are many and varied. Acute exposure to mercury causes cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, inflammation of the gums, and excessive salivation, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, rash, and conjunctivitis. Chronic exposure to mercury causes subtler symptoms of tremor and insomnia initially, but may eventually cause a change in personality, anxiety, irritability, excitability, fearfulness, memory loss, depression, drowsiness, fatigue, and weakness. Fetal exposure to mercury can cause irreversible brain damage. The quantity of mercury found in blood and urine correlates with degree of toxicity.

Some specific causes of high mercury levels are:

  • Inorganic mercury exposure
  • Organic mercury exposure
  • Elemental mercury exposure (mildly toxic)
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