Which age groups are most severely affected by 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

Toxicity probably affects developing fetuses and children preferentially compared with other age groups, but even on this point, the data are incomplete. Prenatal exposure through maternal consumption of predominantly fish and whale meat has been shown to impair development among children in the Faroe Islands, while maternal mercury exposure from fish consumption alone in the Seychelles did not result in significant developmental problems among children prenatally exposed. [44, 45] The protective effects of the naturally selenium-enriched fish diet of the Seychelles population has been proposed to explain this effect. [15]

In a case of a family exposed to methylmercury through the ingestion of contaminated pork, the more severe clinical manifestations were found in the younger children. [46]


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