How mercury can enter our bodies

Tackling mercury pollution in the EU and worldwide

Mercury is a heavy metal that is well known for being the only metal that is liquid at room temperature and normal pressure. It is also a potent neurotoxin with severe global human health impacts. It can be converted from one form to another by natural processes and, once released, actively cycles in the environment for hundreds to thousands of years before being buried in sediment.

  • The Tackling mercury pollution in the EU and worldwide In-Depth Report from Science for Environment Policy summarises the latest scientific studies and research results on mercury pollution in the global environment.
  • Image source European Commission multimedia.
  • Find more infographics in our Flickr album.

Highly toxic mercury and its compounds to be banned in children, pregnant and breastfeeding women’s dental amalgam

EU agrees dental amalgam ban in children, pregnant and breastfeeding women

Mercury and its compounds are highly toxic to humans, especially to pregnant women and the developing nervous system. Amalgam consists of 50% mercury, which under certain conditions can transform to neurotoxic methylmercury.

Brussels, 8 December 2016 – European civil society has endorsed this week’s provisional agreement by the three EU institutions (European Parliament, European Commission and the Council of the European Union) to ban dental amalgam fillings for children under 15 and for pregnant and breastfeeding women as of 1 July 2018.

The text, which must now be approved by both Parliament and Council, also requires each Member State to set a national plan by 1 July 2019 on how it will reduce amalgam use. The Commission will report by mid-2020 on the feasibility of phasing out dental amalgam preferably by 2030 to be accompanied by a legislative proposal, if appropriate. The action is part of a broader package to ratify and implement the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

“The children of Europe have won. The next generation in Europe will be safe from mercury dental fillings.”

said Charlie Brown, President of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry.

“With this agreement Europe takes an important step towards returning to world leadership in implementing the Minamata Convention. These steps towards a phase out of dental amalgam will now resonate across the world.”

said Elena Lymberidi-Settimo of the European Environment Bureau.

“Amalgam is a primitive polluting device. It is technically inferior to today’s modern alternatives. Dentistry’s amalgam era is over, a fact embraced enthusiastically by thousands of European dentists and accepted by the others.”

said U.K. dentist Graeme Munro-Hall, chair of the Transition and Training task force of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry.

“We welcome this agreement with mixed feelings. Such a decision should not only lead to a reduction of mercury in the EU, but it is also an open acknowledgement that mercury fillings should not have a place in our society. We regret that the measures for a full phase out of dental amalgam proposed by Stefan Eck (Rapporteur), did not survive the trilogue discussion. It is a missed opportunity to actually reduce the largest presence of mercury in the EU at its very source: dental amalgam.”

said Philippe Vandendaele of Health Care Without Harm Europe.

“This partial ban on dental amalgams is excellent news, especially for children’s health. It will not only help protect the health of mothers and children but also contribute to reducing everyone’s environmental exposure to mercury. Several Member States either disallow amalgam use or have already reduced it to less than 10% of all dental fillings. We hope each Member States will now take seriously its duty to reduce amalgam use for everyone.”

said Genon Jensen of Health and Environmental Alliance.

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The Most Polluted Generation

Penelope Jagessar Chaffer at TEDxBrussels, 2014

Video published on 15 Dec 2014 by TED channel.

Chemicals can be toxic at very low levels.

  • If chemicals behave like drugs, why are they not regulated and tested like drugs?
  • There is so much debate about the fetus right to life…. what about the morality of millions of polluted fetuses?

Penelope Jagessar Chaffer is a multi award winning filmmaker and artist, writer, feminist, children’s environmental health advocate and global environmentalist.

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Fracking magic sauce revealed: arsenic and mercury among more than 1,000 chemicals used

Fracking involves hundreds of toxins that may pose serious ills and many more that remain unstudied

image of Hydraulic-Fracking
Arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde, lead and mercury are among more than 200 toxins found in fracking fluids and wastewater that may pose serious risks to reproductive and developmental health. Hydraulic Fracking.

Study Abstract

A systematic evaluation of chemicals in hydraulic-fracturing fluids and wastewater for reproductive and developmental toxicity, Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, doi:10.1038/jes.2015.81,
6 January 2016.

Hydraulic-fracturing fluids and wastewater from unconventional oil and natural gas development contain hundreds of substances with the potential to contaminate drinking water.

Challenges to conducting well-designed human exposure and health studies include limited information about likely etiologic agents.

We found a number of things that shouldn’t be in the water

said Zacariah Hildenbrand – researcher with Inform Environmental – to the huffingtonpost.

  • We systematically evaluated 1021 chemicals identified in hydraulic-fracturing fluids (n=925), wastewater (n=132), or both (n=36) for potential reproductive and developmental toxicity to triage those with potential for human health impact.
  • We searched the REPROTOX database using Chemical Abstract Service registry numbers for chemicals with available data and evaluated the evidence for adverse reproductive and developmental effects.
  • Next, we determined which chemicals linked to reproductive or developmental toxicity had water quality standards or guidelines.
    • Toxicity information was lacking for 781 (76%) chemicals.
    • Of the remaining 240 substances, evidence suggested reproductive toxicity for 103 (43%), developmental toxicity for 95 (40%), and both for 41 (17%).
    • Of these 157 chemicals, 67 had or were proposed for a federal water quality standard or guideline. Our systematic screening approach identified a list of 67 hydraulic fracturing-related candidate analytes based on known or suspected toxicity.

Some previous research suggest that even tiny doses of those chemicals released by fracking could pose serious health risks to pregnant women and developing fetuses, babies and young children.

Incorporation of data on potency, physicochemical properties, and environmental concentrations could further prioritize these substances for future drinking water exposure assessments or reproductive and developmental health studies.

More Information
  • Elucidating hydraulic fracturing impacts on groundwater quality using a regional geospatial statistical modeling approach, sciencedirect, 2015.
  • Chemical Analysis of Wastewater from Unconventional Drilling Operations, mdpi, 15 April 2015.

Cancer Prevention and Safer Chemicals: EDC’s Dirty Dozen 2/3

EWG’s Dirty Dozen: Cancer Prevention Edition 2/3, 2015

EWG_DD_CancerTips-2 infographic
EWG’s Dirty Dozen: Cancer Prevention Edition 2/3

Scientists are only beginning to investigate how certain chemicals may interact to contribute to cancer development. But given that we live in a sea of chemicals, it makes sense to begin reducing exposures to ones we know are bad actors.

Here are EWG‘s tips for avoiding 12 harmful chemicals that have now been found to also disrupt cancer-related pathways — known as cancer hallmarks.

Image sources

  • EWG’S DIRTY DOZEN: CANCER PREVENTION EDITION,
    ewg research, AUGUST 6, 2015.
Related posts and videos

Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak

About the mercury-containing preservative Thimerosal in vaccines

The Evidence Supporting the Immediate Removal of Mercury – a Known Neurotoxin – from Vaccines

thimerosal book cover image
From New York Times bestselling author Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., comes a science-based call for the immediate removal of the dangerous mercury-containing preservative Thimerosal from vaccines.

Over a decade ago, following a sharp rise in developmental disorders such as autism and ADHD, the mercury-containing preservative Thimerosal was widely believed to have been eliminated from vaccine supplies in the United States and abroad. However, dangerous quantities of Thimerosal continue to be used, posing a significant threat to public health and leading to a crisis of faith in vaccine safety.

In this groundbreaking book, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., examines the research literature on Thimerosal and makes a very clear statement about its potentially dangerous effects. In the past, the CDC, FDA, NIH, and AAP, as well as the US Congress, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the US Department of Agriculture, the European Medicines Agency, and the California Environmental Protection Agency have expressed concerns over the use of Thimerosal in vaccines. But despite the many voices calling for action, the media and policy makers have repeatedly failed to adequately address the issue.

Now, with Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak, the science supporting the elimination of this toxic chemical from the world’s vaccine supplies, and its replacement with already available safer alternatives, is all in one place. Making this change should increase vaccination rates by restoring the trust of concerned parents in the vaccine program – a program that is so vitally important to public health. Read reviews.

Videos

Thimerosal in vaccines and autism part 1, part 2, archives.

On Flickr®

Thimerosal in Vaccines and Autism

About the vaccines mercury-containing preservative ‪‎Thimerosal‬ …

Growing numbers of Americans are refusing to vaccinate their children because they think vaccines are causing autism. But it’s not the vaccines that appear to be one cause of neurological disorders, it’s something else.

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Thimerosal in Vaccines and Autism

It’s not the vaccines that appear to be one cause of neurological disorders but Thimerosal

Growing numbers of Americans are refusing to vaccinate their children because they think vaccines are causing autism. But it’s not the vaccines that appear to be one cause of neurological disorders, it’s something else. Now, a senior CDC vaccine safety scientist has invoked the protection of the Federal Whistleblower Statute, and is claiming that the CDC knew that thimerosal was unsafe, but pressured him to publish studies claiming otherwise.

More information

Thimerosal in Vaccines and Autism

It’s not the vaccines that appear to be one cause of neurological disorders but Thimerosal

Growing numbers of Americans are refusing to vaccinate their children because they think vaccines are causing autism. But it’s not the vaccines that appear to be one cause of neurological disorders, it’s something else. Now, a senior CDC vaccine safety scientist has invoked the protection of the Federal Whistleblower Statute, and is claiming that the CDC knew that thimerosal was unsafe, but pressured him to publish studies claiming otherwise.

More information

Eating fish fatty acids during pregnancy may shield baby’s brain from mercury damage

Fatty Acids in Fish May Shield Brain from Mercury Damage

fish-market image
The developmental benefits conferred by the mother consuming fish while pregnant may offset the mercury-related risks. The Seychelles study began in the mid-1980s. Image by Bilal Randeree.

Recent findings from research in the Seychelles provide further evidence that the benefits of fish consumption on prenatal development may offset the risks associated with mercury exposure. The study suggests that the nutrients found in fish have properties that protect the brain from the potential toxic effects of the chemical.

We found no overall adverse association between prenatal MeHg exposure and neurodevelopmental outcomes. However, maternal PUFA status as a putative marker of the inflammatory milieu appeared to modify the associations of prenatal MeHg exposure with the PDI. Increasing DHA status was positively associated with language development yet negatively associated with the MDI. These findings may indicate existence of an optimal DHA balance with respect to arachidonic acid for different aspects of neurodevelopment.”

Sources and more information

  • Fatty Acids in Fish May Shield Brain from Mercury Damage, urmc, January 21, 2015.
  • Eating fish during pregnancy may boost baby’s development, not impair it, medicalnewstoday, 26 January 2015.
  • Prenatal exposure to methyl mercury from fish consumption and polyunsaturated fatty acids: associations with child development at 20 mo of age in an observational study in the Republic of Seychelles, American Society for Nutrition, ajcn.114.100503, March 2015.