Mercury is a type of metal found in soil, rock, air, and water. It is used in thermometers, batteries, lamps, and other products. Some industries release mercury into the air, soil, and water. In the environment, mercury can combine with bacteria to become methylmercury.
The nervous system is very sensitive to all forms of mercury. Exposure to high levels of methylmercury can permanently damage the brain, kidneys, and developing fetus. Effects on brain functioning may result in irritability, shyness, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, and memory problems. Short-term exposure to very high levels may cause effects including lung damage, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increases in blood pressure or heart rate, skin rashes, and eye irritation. Mercury may also increase one's risk of developing cancer.
Pregnant and nursing women, children under the age of 17, and women who are planning to become pregnant should limit their exposure to mercury. The best way to limit one's exposure is eat less fish, and to eat fish with lower levels of mercury. Information on mercury and fish can be found in our "Fish" Topic page.
Mercury in Fish Fact Sheet
Fish are nutritious for you and your family....
Mercury Poisoning from "Homemade" Skin Creams From Mexico
Certain skin-lightening or acne creams from Mexico have recently caused multiple cases of mercury poisoning throughout California....
Biological monitoring for mercury within a community with soil and fish contamination
Delta Fish Project Needs Assessment Final Report
Executive Summary Mercury, a potent neurotoxin, bioaccumulates in fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and tributaries...
Elevated mercury levels in pregnant women linked to skin cream from Mexico
Mercury exposure during pregnancy can have serious health effects for a developing fetus including impacting the child?s neurologic and cognitive development....
Mercury Poisoning Linked to Skin Products
Delta Watershed Fish Project
-- Mercury, a potent neurotoxin, bioaccumulates in fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed at levels that may pose...
Delta Watershed Fish Project 2005-2006
-- The purpose of this project was to characterize populations that consume fish from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta watershed and conduct outreach, education and training activities to reduce their...
Environmental Health Symposium for Promotores and Community Health Workers
-- In June 14, 2011, EHIB hosted an environmental health symposium for promotores and community health workers....
Klau/Buena Vista Mines, San Luis Obispo County - Public Health Activities
-- From 2005 to 2010 the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) conducted an investigation of the public health implications from contamination at the Klau and Buena Vista Mines....
Mercury Exposure and Health Effects (Continuing Medical Education Course)
-- Mercury Exposure and Health Effects (Continuing Medical Education Course) ? A free, online CME course that provides information on the common forms and sources of mercury in the environment; highlights...
Mercury in Fish
-- If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, might become pregnant, or if you have young children, please see the brochures below for information on mercury in fish.
San Francisco Bay Fish Outreach and Education Project
-- In 1997, EHIB created the San Francisco Bay Fish Consumption Outreach and Education Project....
Survey and Educational Activity in the Lower Sacramento River Watershed
-- The goal of this project is to characterize fish consumption patterns and implement an educational activity to reduce exposure to mercury in a high-risk population....