Mercury poisoning is more common than you think. Its incidence has increased over the years due to greater release of this heavy metal into the atmosphere and subsequently into soil, water, and the fish population.
Some sources are certain fish, dental cavity fillings, skin contact with objects containing mercury, water, medications, and the burning of coal. Its symptoms can be many and can affect the nervous and endocrine systems and the adrenal glands. There have been indications of links between mercury and autism and diabetes.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a Mercury Study Report in 1997—an eight-volume assessment. They describe how mercury enters the environment:
“Mercury is emitted to the air by human activities, such as manufacturing or burning coal for fuel, and from natural sources, such as volcanoes…[It] can travel a range of distances, may remain in the atmosphere up to one year and…can fall out of the air over a range of distances…Mercury transforms into methylmercury in soils and water, then can bioaccumulate in fish.”
There are ways, however, to avoid mercury and to detoxify your body if you are subject to its affects. Dr. Mark Hyman, Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, developed a three-step program after he discovered that he himself had mercury poisoning. The program defines certain foods and supplements to add to your diet as well as physical methods to rid your body of toxins. He has had a great deal of experience with successful results:
“In my practice, I have seen the benefits of detoxifying from mercury. My patients have recovered from dementia, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, heart failure, diabetes, obesity, multiple sclerosis, depression, autoimmune diseases like colitis and rheumatoid arthritis, and many other problems. Of course, that doesn’t mean that mercury is THE cause of these conditions, but simply one of the many causes that has to be considered.”
Contact with mercury should be limited and precautions taken; fish aren’t the only source of the metal. It should be obvious not to touch liquid mercury, no matter how cool it looks. If you must handle it, use gloves and make sure you dispose of them properly (don’t throw it in the garbage or flush it down the toilet). Fluorescent light bulbs and old paint contain mercury; toxins can be released as vapor. Mercury is present in other places as well—it’s always a good idea to cover your nose and mouth when coming into contact with any particles or unknown liquids.