Essay on Mercury Poisoning

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Mercury Poisoning The article “Our Preferred Poison” in the March 2005 issue of Discover magazine brings up the issue dealing with mercury poisoning. The author, Karen Wright, writes, “Mercury is unimaginably toxic and dangerous. A single drop on a human hand can be irreversibly fatal. A single drop in a large lake can make all the fish in it unsafe to eat.” This was the opening statement in the article which first grabbed my attention, because I had not thought mercury to be such a deadly substance. After all, it is used in thermometers, so I hadn’t thought it to be as fatally toxic as Wright claims it to be. The people with the most risk of damage by mercury are unborn fetuses and children. Studies seem to show that the metal…show more content…
The article describes briefly how the mercury ends up in the fish we eat, how the rain grabs the mercury from the atmosphere and deposits it into the lakes and oceans. Because of the food chain, the largest of the aquatic animals will have the highest amount of mercury, whales and sharks for example. So, communities high in whale and shark consumption will show the greatest risk of mercury poisoning. Wright does not discuss the consumption of mercury through the silver/mercury filling vapors very much. She only points out that people with more fillings have shown to have more mercury content in their urine, with the dentists having performed the fillings having two to fives times as much. Mercury can also be found in the compound called thimerosal, which is used as a preservative for vaccines. Not long ago, when this information was introduced to the public, there was a scare which caused a decline in the amount of vaccines given to young children. To me, not vaccinating a child seems more dangerous than exposing the child to a trace amount of mercury. The article states how the FDA has been trying to ban the use of thimerosal, which they have been successful in doing in most drugs, besides the flu vaccine. The article brings up many concerns dealing with mercury poisoning, a lot of things I had do idea existed. It almost scared me a little, maybe that’s what the author had intended when writing
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