The Urine Mercury Test can be used to evaluate exposure to this potentially toxic element.
When should I use
Early signs of excessive mercury exposure include: decreased senses of touch, hearing, vision and taste, metallic taste in mouth, fatigue or lack of physical endurance, and increased salivation.
Symptoms may progress with moderate or chronic exposure to include: anorexia, numbness and paresthesias, headaches, hypertension, irritability and excitability, and immune suppression. Advanced disease processes from excessive mercury assimilation include: tremors and incoordination, anaemia, psychoses, manic behaviour, autoimmune disorders and renal dysfunction.
Mercury is used in dental amalgams, some vaccines, pure liquid form in thermometers, barometers, and laboratory equipment; batteries and electrodes, some medications. The fungicide/pesticide use of mercury has declined due to environmental concerns, but Hg residues persist in the environment. Emissions from coal-fired power plants and hospital/municipal incinerators are significant sources of mercury pollution.
Methylmercury, the most common, organic form, accumulates in aquatic animals and fish and is concentrated up the food chain reaching highest concentrations in large fish.