Certainly mercury salts are toxic, but saying mecury metal
is not toxic is
deceiving to say the least - the events surrounding
discharge of mercury
into Minimata bay in Japan reflect the problems with
Although metallic mercury is not directly toxic, it is
readily absorped as
a vapour via the lungs. Once it reaches the blood stream,
it is converted
to the mercurous salt (Hg++) and this has a direct
nephrotoxic affect on
the proximal tubule (c.f. mercuric chloride - HgCl2).
The other principle method that metallic mercury can
present a hazard is
via waste discharge ("Minimata disease"). Metallic mecury
metabolised in the environment by bacteria to form
Hg(CH3)2. This can accumulate through the food chain and
neurological problems in both adults and children but was
also linked to
cerebral palsy in the foetus - there may also have been
Exposure to the small amounts of mecury present in a
thermometer should be
avoided if at all possible - swallowing is not recommended!
But, IMO, the
small amounts in most thermometers should not present a
large risk unless
the victim is particularly young - after all mercury has
been used in
dental amalgams for years. Unfortunately, I don't have the
TLEVs or other
numerical data to hand to give hard figures on "safe"
levels. If exposure
does occur, seek professional medical advice as always.
marei <marei at xpoint.at> wrote in article
<350dab27.1 at info.xpoint.at>...
> I have tried to know whether Mercury is toxic or not. I
am getting a lot
> confusion answers. Mercury salts are toxic, however, is
the swallowing of
> Mercury in small amount (thermometer) is it dangerous.
> I have once read that Mercury metal would not have any