So since writing this post about Mercury and Mitochondrial toxicity. I have gotten quite a few comments saying, “but they took the Mercury OUT of the vaccines, so it is really not an issue”. Well yes, and no.. and mercury in vaccines is not the only source of mercury you may need to be concerned with.
10 Mercury Exposures you can avoid
(organic, inorganic and elemental or metallic)
1. Vaccination- Mercury in the form of thimerisol still exists in seasonal influenza (flu) vaccines. Consider boosting your Vitamin D levels, it can be more effective than the flu shot.
2. Fish- Mercury in the form of methyl mercury can be found in many fish. Here are a number of lists (here and here) showing which fish may contain the highest amounts, that you may want to consider avoiding.
3. Pharmaceutical applications- Many ear, nose and eye drugs contain mercury. A complete list maintained by the FDA can be found here.
4. Vapors- The quicksilver form of mercury has harmful vapors as is noted in this 1926 account of a scientist who shares his health issues after occupational exposure. Of course nearly 100 years later this is well known and one reason that mercury thermometers are no longer used, perhaps.
5. Plasma derived sources- Rhogam shots and anti-venom contain thimerosal as well, more details on the FDA site can be found here.
6. Coal Burning sources- Coal-burning power plants are the largest human-caused source of mercury emissions to the air in the United States, accounting for over 50 percent of all domestic human-caused mercury emissions (Source: 2005 National Emissions Inventory).
7. Dental Amalgams- “A potential source of exposure to metallic mercury for the general population is mercury released from dental amalgam fillings. An amalgam is a mixture of metals. The amalgam used in silver-colored dental fillings contains approximately 50% metallic mercury, 35% silver, 9% tin, 6% copper, and trace amounts of zinc. When the amalgam is first mixed, it is a soft paste which is inserted into the tooth surface. It hardens within 30 minutes. Once the amalgam is hard, the mercury is bound within the amalgam, but very small amounts are slowly released from the surface of the filling due to corrosion or chewing or grinding motions. Part of the mercury at the surface of the filling may enter the air as mercury vapor or be dissolved in the saliva. The total amount of mercury released from dental amalgam depends upon the total number of fillings and surface areas of each filling, the chewing and eating habits of the person, and other chemical conditions in the mouth. Estimates of the amount of mercury released from dental amalgams range from 3 to 17 micrograms per day. The mercury from dental amalgam may contribute from 0 to more than 75% of your total daily mercury exposure, depending on the number of amalgam fillings you have, the amount of fish consumed, the levels of mercury (mostly as methylmercury) in those fish, and exposure from other less common sources such as mercury spills, religious practices, or herbal remedies that contain mercury.” (source)
8. High fructose corn syrup- “A peer-reviewed study published in Clinical Epigenetics in 2012 set out to find out why the autism rates were so different for the US and Italy. After comparing a variety of variables, they concluded that one reason may be the drastic differences between consumption of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). According to the study, U.S. per capita consumption of HFCS in 2009 was 35.7 pounds per year. The study goes on to state, “…The Mercury Toxicity Model shows the HFCS characteristics most likely contributing to autism include the zinc-depleting effect that comes from consuming HFCS and certain food colors found in processed foods, and the additional Hg [mercury] exposure that may occur from the low Hg concentrations sometimes found in HFCS as a result of the manufacturing process.” The study concludes that, “A comparison of autism prevalence between the U.S. and Italy using theMercury Toxicity Model suggests the increase in autism in the U.S. is not related to mercury exposure from fish, coal-fired power plants, thimerosal, or dental amalgam but instead to the consumption of HFCS. Consumption of HFCS may lead to mineral imbalances, including Zn [zinc], Ca [calcium] and P [phosphorus] loss and Cu [copper] gain and is a potential source of inorganicmercury exposure.” (Source)
Another article from 2009 looking at Mercury found in HFCS.
9. Light Bulbs- Flourescent, CFL’s: “Small amounts of mercury can be released into the environment when CFLs break, or if they are improperly disposed of at the end of their useful lives. Despite these emissions, the use of CFLs actually helps reduce total mercury emissions in the U.S. because of their significant energy savings. Using energy-saving CFLs reduces demand for electricity, which in turn reduces the amount of coal burned by power plants, which reduces emissions of mercury when the coal is burned.” (source: EPA)
Acrodynia: Exposure to Mercury From Fluorescent Light Bulbs (source)
Medical attention was sought for a 23-month-old toddler because of anorexia, weight loss, irritability, profuse sweating, peeling and redness of his fingers and toes, and a miliarial rash. The diagnosis was mercury poisoning, and an investigation of his environment disclosed that he had been exposed to mercury from broken fluorescent light bulbs. Acrodynia resulting from fluorescent bulbs has not been previously reported.
10. Cosmetics and Skin Products: “Federal health officials are warning consumers not to use skin creams, beauty and antiseptic soaps, or lotions that might contain mercury.
The products are marketed as skin lighteners and anti-aging treatments that remove age spots, freckles, blemishes and wrinkles, says Gary Coody, national health fraud coordinator in the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Regulatory Affairs. Adolescents also may use these products as acne treatments, adds Coody. Products with this toxic metal have been found in at least seven states.
Texas health officials say samples of face cream they tested contained mercury up to 131,000 times the allowable level. And a teenager in southern Texas who used a mercury-containing skin cream was recently hospitalized for mercury poisoning.
In Northern California, a 39-year old woman had more than 100 times the average amount of mercury in her urine and had symptoms of mercury poisoning, according to the California Department of Public Health. For three years, the woman and her husband had been using an unlabeled mercury-containing face cream that was brought into the U.S. from Mexico by a relative. Several other family members who did not use the cream, including a four-year-old child, also had elevated levels of mercury in their bodies.
Virginia, Maryland, and New York have also seen cases of elevated mercury levels in people exposed to skin products containing mercury. In Minnesota, 11 of 27 imported skin products taken from store shelves contained mercury.”(Source FDA)
Minnesota banned mercury in cosmetics in 2007- story here.
Editor’s note- Many products contained mercury and have now changed formulations reducing or removing mercury from their product- one being contact lense solutions (hypersensitivity research here). Here is a list from 2000 noting some other products containing mercury containing compounds that may or may not still contain them 14 years later!