mercury


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mercury

 (Hg) [mer´ku-re]
a chemical element, atomic number 80, atomic weight 200.59. (See Appendix 6.) Mercury forms two sets or classes of compounds: mercurous, in which a single atom of mercury combines with a monovalent radical, and mercuric, in which a single atom of mercury combines with a bivalent radical. Mercury and its salts can be absorbed by the skin and mucous membranes, causing chronic poisoning (see mercury poisoning). The mercuric salts are more soluble and irritant than the mercurous.
ammoniated mercury a compound used as an antiseptic skin and ophthalmic ointment. It should be applied with caution, as excessive use may irritate the skin and cause dermatitis.
mercury bichloride an extremely poisonous compound formerly used in treatment of syphilis but now used only as a disinfectant.
mercury poisoning acute or chronic disease caused by exposure to mercury or its salts; an important aspect is its toxic effect on the brain, causing impaired judgment, memory loss, sleeplessness, and nervousness. The acute form, due to ingestion, is marked by severe abdominal pain, metallic taste in the mouth, vomiting, oliguria or anuria at onset, followed by bloody diarrhea, and corrosion and ulceration of the entire digestive tract. The chronic form, due to absorption by the skin and mucous membranes, inhalation of vapors, or ingestion of mercury salts, is marked by stomatitis, metallic taste in the mouth, a blue line along the border of the gum, sore hypertrophied gums that bleed easily, loosening of the teeth, excessive salivation, tremors and incoordination, and psychiatric symptoms including abnormal excitability, anxiety, and social withdrawal. A common cause of chronic mercury poisoning is the ingestion of contaminated fish. Because of this, some fishing areas are posted with signs recommending limiting consumption of fish caught there. See also minamata disease.
Treatment. Treatment consists of removal of the source of exposure and administration of a chelating agent. Exchange transfusions and removal of mercury by surgery are options in selected patients. Consultation with a toxicologist is warranted.

mer·cu·ry (Hg),

(mĕr'kyū-rē),
A dense liquid metallic element, atomic no. 80, atomic wt. 200.59; used in thermometers, barometers, manometers, and other scientific instruments; some salts and organic mercurials are used medicinally; care must be followed with its handling; 197Hg (half-life of 2.672 days) and 203Hg (half-life of 46.61 days) have been used in brain and renal scanning.
Synonym(s): hydrargyrum, quicksilver
[L. Mercurius, Mercury, the god of trade, messenger of the gods; in Mediev. L., quicksilver, mercury]

mercury

/mer·cu·ry/ (Hg) (mer´kūr-e) a chemical element, at. no. 80. Acute mercury poisoning, due to ingestion, is marked by severe abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody diarrhea with watery stools, oliguria or anuria, and corrosion and ulceration of the digestive tract; in the chronic form, due to absorption through skin and mucous membranes, inhalation, or ingestion, there is stomatitis, blue line along the gum border, sore hypertrophied gums that bleed easily, loosening of teeth, erethism, ptyalism, tremors, and incoordination.

mercury (Hg)

[mur′kyərē]
Etymology: L, Mercurius, mythic messenger of the gods
a metallic element. Its atomic number is 80; its atomic mass is 200.59. It is the only common metal that is liquid at room temperature, and it occurs in nature almost entirely in the form of its sulfide, cinnabar. Mercury is produced commercially and is used in dental amalgams, thermometers, barometers, and other measuring instruments. It forms many poisonous compounds. The air, soil, and water in many areas of the world have become contaminated by mercury because of the burning of fossil fuels that contain the element and because of the greater use of mercury in industry and agriculture. The major toxic forms of this metal are mercury vapor, mercuric salts, and organic mercurials. Elemental mercury is only mildly toxic when ingested because it is poorly absorbed. The vapor of elemental mercury, however, is readily absorbed through the lungs and enters the brain before it is oxidized. The kidneys retain mercury longer than any of the other body tissues.

mercury

A liquid metallic element (atomic number 80; atomic weight 200.59) often obtained from cinnabar, a major mercury ore. Mercury preparations used in healthcare have minimal toxicity and mercury-based agents have been used as diuretics, topical antiseptics and in dental amalgams, and are thought to be relatively safe; the practice of removing dental amalgams is believed by toxicologists to cause a marked short-term increase in mercury levels. The cardioprotective effect of n-3 fatty acids may be reduced by the high mercury content of fish.

Alternative dentistry
See Dental amalgam.

Homeopathy
Merc sol, see there; Mercurius solubilis.
 
Toxicology
A highly toxic heavy metal widely used in household products (e.g., as a fungicide in latex paints) which is absorbed via skin and lungs.

Clinical findings
• Inorganic mercury causes nausea, diarrhoea, renal toxicity.
• Organic mercury causes neuromuscular defects (e.g., loss of co-ordination), myalgias, brain dysfunction and “mad hatter” disease (which may be misinterpreted as a mental disorder).

Specimen
24-hour urine.

Ref range
0–20 µg/L.
 
Toxic range
> 150 µg/L.
 
Method
Atomic absorption spectrophotometry.

mer·cu·ry

(Hg) (mĕr'kyūr-ē)
A dense, liquid metallic element, atomic no. 80, atomic wt. 200.59; used in thermometers, barometers, manometers, and other scientific instruments; some salts and organic mercurials are used medicinally; 197Hg (half-life of 2.672 days) and 203Hg (half-life of 46.61 days) have been used in brain and renal scanning.

mercury,

n a toxic heavy metal most often found in contaminated fish, dental amalgam, and some Ayurvedic and Chinese herbal medicines. Has been linked to neurological disorders, liver damage, and kidney diseases.

mer·cu·ry

(mĕr'kyūr-ē)
A dense liquid metallic element; used in thermometers, barometers, manometers, and other scientific instruments; some salts and organic mercurials are used medicinally; must be handled with care.

mercury (Hg),

a metallic element. Its atomic number is 80 and its atomic weight is 200.6. It is the only common metal that is liquid at room temperature, and it occurs in nature almost entirely in the form of its sulfide, cinnabar. It is used in dental amalgams, thermometers, barometers, and other measuring instruments. It forms many poisonous compounds. The major toxic forms are mercury vapor, mercuric salts, and organic mercurials. Elemental mercury is only mildly toxic when ingested because it is poorly absorbed.
mercury poisoning,
n a toxic condition caused by the ingestion or inhalation of mercury or a mercury compound. The chronic form, resulting from inhalation of the vapors or dust of mercurial compounds, is characterized by irritability, excessive saliva, loosened teeth, gingival tissue disorders, slurred speech, tremors, and staggering. Symptoms of acute mercury poisoning usually appear no later than 30 minutes after exposure and include a metallic taste in the oral cavity, thirst, nausea, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and renal failure that may result in death. Its presence in the body is determined by a urine test.

mercury

a chemical element, atomic number 80, atomic weight 200.59, symbol Hg. See Table 6.
Mercury forms two sets or classes of compounds: mercurous, in which a single atom of mercury combines with a monovalent radical, and mercuric, in which a single atom of mercury combines with a bivalent radical. Mercury and its salts have been employed therapeutically as purgatives; as alternatives in chronic inflammations; and as intestinal antiseptics, disinfectants and astringents. They are absorbed by the skin and mucous membranes, causing chronic mercurial poisoning, or hydrargyria. The mercuric salts are more soluble and irritant than the mercurous. See also mercurous, mercuric.

ammoniated mercury
used as an antiseptic skin and ophthalmic ointment.
organic mercury
includes the fungistats phenylmercurials, ethyl and methyl mercurials, e.g. methoxyethylmercury silicate; poisonous to animals and cause unacceptable residues in animal products.
mercury plant
mercury poisoning
by inorganic compounds causes gastritis and kidney damage manifested by diarrhea and terminal uremia. Organic mercury compounds were until recently extensively used as fungistatic agents in stored grain. They cause poisoning manifested by nervous signs, including incoordination, blindness and recumbency. With larger doses there are convulsions.
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Toxic mercury pollution from power plants threatens the health of women and their babies.
Consistent with this background, saliva has high levels of inorganic mercury associated with the total number of amalgam surfaces, which markedly increased during mastication and bruxism.
Recent studies suggest that when atmospheric mercury encounters light, gases such as ozone and sea spray-borne halogens oxidize it to a more reactive and water-soluble form.
Naomi Miller Coval, a well-known and pioneering woman dentist, died of mercury poisoning.