methylmercury


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di·meth·yl·mer·cu·ry

(dī-meth'il-mĕr'kyū-rē),
A contaminant of seafood products synthesized in sediments from mercury and mercury-containing chemicals dumped in waters supporting marine life. Methylmercury is concentrated in aquatic life forms and can thus be deposited in fish intended for human consumption. Probable cause of Minamata disease, a teratogenic condition characterized by multiple birth defects in Japan. An inorganic reagent.
See also: Minamata disease.
Synonym(s): methylmercury

methylmercury

An inorganic mercury industrial pollutant. It is concentrated up the food chain, is teratogenic, and causes severe CNS defects in children whose mothers consumed methylmercury-contaminated seafood while pregnant.

methylmercury

Dimethyl mercury Toxicology An inorganic mercury industrial pollutant; it is concentrated up the food chain, teratogenic and causes severe CNS defects in children whose mothers consumed MM-contaminated seafood while pregnant. See Mercury, Minamata disease.

methylmercury

, methyl mercury (me-thil-mer'ku-re)
An organic mercury compound produced from inorganic mercury by the addition of a methyl group (CH3) by marine and soil bacteria. This compound is readily taken up by plankton, which are then consumed by marine invertebrates, and subsequently by marine predators, in which it concentrates. Finally, it can enter the human body when people eat fish having high concentrations of the compound, such as salmon or halibut (among others). It can also be absorbed into the body through the skin and respiratory tract. Methylmercury is neurotoxic to humans, esp. children. See: mercury poisoningMinamata disease
References in periodicals archive ?
Understanding the source of methylmercury to marine food webs was one of our primary goals in doing this metagenomic analysis, said co-author Cynthia Gilmour of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
Encouraging as that news was, Smith has not lessened her efforts to investigate, understand and disseminate information about the risks of methylmercury and the ongoing challenges presented by environmental contamination in general.
Methylmercury in fish and seafood is easily absorbed on its journey along the digestive tract.
Based upon the vulnerability of the developing nervous system, overconsumption of fish with elevated levels of methylmercury is a particular public health concern for pregnant women and women of childbearing age.
Fitzgerald, who was the third student to graduate from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program and the first in chemical oceanography, devoted his career to mercury after seeing photographs in the 1970s of people poisoned by methylmercury dumped from a chemical plant into Minamata Bay, Japan.
Of the 264 samples collected from the state, 129 tested for methylmercury exceeded the normal limited by 50- 200 per cent.
In an attempt to define the lowest observable adverse effect level (LOAEL) of mercury, our group conducted a systematic literature review of 48 studies on the effects of prenatal exposure to mercury on the fetus, which used mercury levels in maternal hair samples to estimate prenatal methylmercury exposure.
Health Canada methylmercury biomonitoring guidance values
Researchers have long known that wetlands are particularly conducive to conversion of inorganic mercury to methylmercury, the form of mercury that most easily accumulates in organisms.
Methylmercury is the most common form of mercury found in the environment.
Children developing in the womb and young children are particularly vulnerable to methylmercury, the toxic organic form found in fish, because it can harm neurological development--resulting lower IQ, nervous system damage, cardiovascular ailments, and motor skill problems.
Says Musto, "While levels of methylmercury identified do not pose an immediate threat, limiting consumption in this way is a prudent measure.