by Herb Newborg

According to the National Association of County Health Officials (NACHO), an independent affiliate of the National Association of Counties representing 1,300 local health departments, mercury poses the following dangers: “Mercury can be extremely toxic, especially to infants and children. Mercury occurs in three forms: the elemental form (also referred to as metallic), inorganic salt, and organic compounds called methylmercury. Each form has characteristic pathways of exposure and unique health effects. Mercury affects the nervous system, causing brain, nerve, kidney, and lung damage. Though symptoms may be absent or non-specific, a fact that will hinder diagnosis, they frequently include skin rashes, particularly redness and peeling of the hands and feet in children; tremors; muscular weakness; inability to walk; convulsions; personality changes; memory loss; and in extreme cases, death. The developing fetus is the most sensitive to the effects of mercury, and so women of child-bearing age are the population of greatest concern. Children of women exposed to relatively high levels of methylmercury during pregnancy (and through breast feeding) have exhibited a variety of abnormalities, including delayed onset of walking and talking and reduced neurological test scores.

"Elemental mercury, such as that which was once found in thermometers, slowly evaporates when exposed to the air. Nevertheless, small amounts spilled can reach contamination levels with exposure to room temperature air. Vacuuming, even with specially designed vacuums, can exacerbate the problem by increasing levels of mercury vapor. From there, mercury vapor is easily absorbed in the lungs and is toxic at low concentrations in air. Elemental mercury can also be absorbed through the skin and cause allergic reactions.

"According to the National Institutes of Health, ingestion of inorganic mercury compounds can cause severe renal and gastrointestinal toxicity. Organic compounds of mercury such as methylmercury are considered the most toxic forms of the element, with exposures resulting in neurological damage and even death.

Mercury in the Environment

"Releases of mercury to
the environment are usually in the form of elemental or inorganic forms. Mercury is a naturally occurring element released when volcanoes erupt and rocks erode. It can also be released into the air through industrial pollution, including fossil fuel combustion, metal sulfide ore smelting, gold refining, cement production, refuse incineration, and industrial applications of metals. Mercury concentrations in air are usually low and of little direct concern, but when mercury enters water, biological processes change the chemical form to methylmercury, which is the organic, more toxic form found in fish. Methylmercury bio-accumulates through the food chain and, once in the body, can affect the fetal and adult nervous systems.”

In fact, they have determined mercury to be so toxic that they have created a fact sheet entitled “The Use of Mercury for Cultural and Religious Purposes” to warn local health departments of the potential danger of certain “Afro-Latino-Caribbean and Brazilian based traditions” using mercury in certain cultural traditions.

According to the fact sheet, these groups may use mercury as follows:

“Mercury is often ingested as a treatment for gastrointestinal problems. It may also be used for spiritual cleansing, to protect from evil, and to bring luck, love, and fortune. As such, mercury is sprinkled throughout homes, worn on necklaces, and burned in candles. Thus, mercury can enter the body through ingestion, direct contact to skin, or through inhalation of the scent-free vapors. Exposure to this toxin can come from indirect sources as well. People who do not use mercury in their homes may be at risk of mercury poisoning if the prior tenants have used mercury there. The vapors or physical material, both of which have a long half-life, may still be found in cracks in the floor, sink drains, or other parts of the home.”

Yet somehow, the group that compiled these data are silent on the fact that we are bringing mercury into our homes in the form of compact fluorescent
light bulbs, injecting mercury into our children as a vaccine additive, and producing thousands of metric tons of this toxic chemical annually, all of which ultimately ends up in our bodies or our planet’s water supply.

While global production of mercury has been steadily declining from a high of 7100 metric tons in the early 1980s to about 1800 metric tons in 2000, the question has to be asked: Why are we still supporting the production of mercury at all? The use in lighting, electrical switches,
vaccines, dental fillings, and batteries and chlorine manufacturing have all seen advances in technology that offer safer alternatives. LED bulbs are substitutes for CFL bulbs. Lithium, nickel-cadmium, and zinc-air batteries are substitutes for mercury-zinc batteries. Indium compounds substitute for mercury in alkaline batteries. Diaphragm and membrane cells replace mercury cells in the electrolytic production of chlorine and caustic soda. Ceramic composites can replace dental amalgams. Organic compounds have replaced mercury fungicides in latex paint. Digital instruments have replaced mercury thermometers in many applications.

According to
GreenFacts.org, an international independent non-profit organization with a multi-stakeholder governance:

“In the past, a number of organic mercury compounds were used quite broadly, for example in pesticides (extensive use in seed dressing among others) and biocides in some paints, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. While many of these uses have diminished in some parts of the world, organic mercury compounds are still used for several purposes. Some examples are the use of seed dressing with mercury compounds in some countries, use of dimethylmercury in small amounts as a reference standard for some chemical tests, and Thimerosal (which contains ethylmercury) used as a preservative in some vaccines and other medical and cosmetic products since the 1930s. As the awareness of mercury's potential adverse impacts on health and the environment has been rising, the number of applications (for inorganic and organic mercury) as well as the volume of mercury used have been reduced significantly in many of the industrialized countries, particularly during the last two decades.

"However, many of the uses discontinued in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries are still alive in other parts of the world. Several of these uses have been prohibited or severely restricted in a number of countries because of their adverse impacts on humans and the environment.

"Furthermore, while there is a general understanding of mercury production and use around the world, it is crucial to gain an even better understanding of global mercury markets and flows in order to assess demand, to design appropriate pollution prevention and reduction measures, and to monitor progress towards specific objectives.”

This chemical is so toxic, that the world’s 30 leading industrialized countries have agreed to “cease all further work on mercury” (and yes the United States is among the 30 OECD countries), yet we still allow this chemical to be imported from the countries which have not yet discontinued mercury production including: Spain, China, Kyrgyzstan and Algeria. We allow the importation of this dangerous chemical for strictly economic gain. We allow it to be brought into our homes in compact fluorescent light bulbs and we allow it to be injected into children as the vaccine additive Thimerasol. Mercury production should be halted globally. The US has already agreed to “cease all further work on mercury” yet we still allow the sale of products containing mercury. This must be stopped.

By purchasing CFL light bulbs or Thimerasol laden vaccines, you are supporting the production of mercury and the destruction of human health and the environment.

About the author

Herb Newborg is president of Chiropractic America LLC. Chiropractic America was established in 1994 and maintains www.YourSpine.com a website built to serve as an outlet for doctors nationwide to champion natural health care and lifestyle choices and for patients to have access to spinal health information. Chiropractic America has an advisory board comprised of leading chiropractors to ensure doctors and patients have access to the most current, accurate, and relevant information.