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Mercury is a naturally occurring metal which has several forms. The metallic mercury is a shiny, silver-white, odorless liquid. If heated, it is a colorless, odorless gas. Mercury combines with other elements, such as chlorine, sulfur, or oxygen, to form inorganic mercury compounds or "salts," which are usually white powders or crystals. Mercury also combines with carbon to make organic mercury compounds. The most common one, methylmercury, is produced mainly by microscopic organisms in the water and soil. More mercury in the environment can increase the amounts of methylmercury that these small organisms make.
Metallic mercury is used to produce chlorine gas and caustic soda, and is also used in thermometers, dental fillings, and batteries. Mercury salts are sometimes used in skin lightening creams and as antiseptic creams and ointments. [CDC: Mercury] Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC: Mercury

The nervous system is very sensitive to all forms of mercury. Methylmercury and metallic mercury vapors are more harmful than other forms, because more mercury in these forms reaches the brain. Exposure to high levels of metallic, inorganic, or organic mercury 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 high levels of metallic mercury vapors may cause effects including lung damage, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increases in blood pressure or heart rate, skin rashes, and eye irritation.[CDC: Toxfaqs] Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC: Toxfaqs

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Language Variants Get Info

Tag Language Translation
zh-CN Chinese (China)
Synonyms: Hg;水银
fr-CA French (Canada) Mercure
et-EE Estonian (Estonia) Elavhõbe
es-ES Spanish (Spain) Mercurio
it-IT Italian (Italy) Mercurio
tr-TR Turkish (Turkey) Civa
ru-RU Russian (Russian Federation) Ртуть
nl-NL Dutch (Netherlands) kwik
fr-BE French (Belgium) Mercure
Synonyms: Hg