What are the CNS effects of elemental mercury toxicity?

Updated: Nov 05, 2018
  • Author: David A Olson, MD; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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Answer

Elemental mercury as a vapor has the ability to penetrate the central nervous system (CNS), where it is ionized and trapped, attributing to its significant toxic effects. Elemental mercury is not well absorbed by the GI tract; therefore, when it is ingested (eg, thermometers), it is only mildly toxic.


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