MN FEET: Mercury Exposure
Information for medical providers
Mercury is a metal that has several chemical forms. Exposure to mercury can cause serious health problems. Babies in utero and young children are most at risk because small amounts of mercury can damage the developing brain and nervous system, affecting learning abilities, memory, and attention. In adults and children, ongoing exposure to mercury can damage the nervous system and kidneys.
For most people, fish consumption is a major source of exposure to mercury. Older, larger fish and fish that eat other fish have the highest levels of mercury. People can also be exposed to mercury from broken thermometers, cosmetic products like skin-lightening creams, and some dental fillings.