Mercury Poisoning

Mercury Poisoning is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • 3 forms: Elemental, inorganic salts, and organic
  • Reacts with sulfhydryl groups, causing enzyme inhibition and alterations in cellular membranes
  • Binds to phosphoryl, carboxyl, amide, and amine groups of enzymes


  • Exposure is usually through the GI tract and inhalation and less frequently dermal exposure.
  • Exposure through manufacturing of chlorine and caustic soda, diuretics, antibacterial agents, antiseptics, thermometers, batteries, fossil fuels, plastics, paints, jewelry, lamps, explosives, fireworks, vinyl chloride, and pigments
  • Exposure through taxidermy, photography, dentistry, mercury mining
  • Contaminated seafood

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