How does organic mercury poisoning occur?

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

Organic mercury poisoning usually results from ingestion of contaminated food. The long-chain and aryl forms of organic mercury have similar toxic characteristics as inorganic mercury. The onset of symptoms usually is delayed (days to weeks) after exposure.

Organic mercury targets enzymes, and the depletion of these enzymes must occur before the onset of symptoms.


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