Understanding Mercury’s Harmful Effects: Dr. Harlan Sparer discusses how this metal can harm us
May 31, 2015 01:49PM
● By Dr. Harlan Sparer
The first Chinese emperor was administered a drink of mercury and powdered jade by his alchemists to give him eternal life. He died shortly after. We kill ourselves more slowly and elegantly these days, often because of misguided advice.
Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature, and it enthusiastically attaches itself to other substances. Notably, selenium- and sulfur-containing substances are altered permanently in our bodies. This leads to irreversible inhibition of selenium-dependent enzymes, thus inactivating nerve hormones. A person suffering from mercury poisoning may experience profuse sweating, tachycardia (quickened heartbeat), increased salivation and hypertension (high blood pressure). Affected children may show red cheeks, nose and lips, loss of hair, teeth and nails, transient rashes, muscle weakness and increased sensitivity to light. Other symptoms may include kidney dysfunction or neuropsychiatric symptoms such as emotional lability (incontinence), memory impairment and/or insomnia.
Neurological function is deeply impaired by a teeny tiny bit of this stuff. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the maximum allowable level is two parts per billion (ppb) in our drinking water. It is important to note that .5 ppb is enough to kill brain cells, which is one-quarter of this amount.
Mercury persists as a preservative and as a part of amalgam fillings in dentistry. It is also used in thermometers, eye products, mascara, blood pressure and pressure devices, and also as a topical antibiotic. In eco-friendly CFL (compact fluorescent) light bulbs, 80 percent of inhaled mercury vapor, which is highly toxic and released when a CFL light bulb breaks, is absorbed into the body via the lungs. Mercury is at the heart of an ongoing debate over the safety of some vaccinations.
There has been a substantial spike in the incidence of brain disorders, and Parkinson’s disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have been clearly linked to mercury poisoning. Mercury has a penchant for disturbing neurological function due to the inseparable attachments it makes to nerve hormones and enzymes. It should come as no surprise that our elders have a spike in the incidence of brain dysfunction due to their radically high mercury intake.
As children, we are taught to look both ways before we cross the street. Allowing mercury in our body or home in any form is equivalent to standing in the middle of busy freeway traffic, daring a car to run us over.