Mercury's effects on human health. The three most common forms of mercury (elemental, inorganic and methylmercury) can all produce adverse health effects at sufficiently high doses. Inhaling elemental mercury, the vapor given off when mercury is heated, can also be dangerous.
Just so, how does mercury travel through the environment?
In the water, plants and small organisms like plankton take up mercury through passive surface absorption or through food intake. Methylmercury biomagnifies through the food chain as predators eat other organisms and absorb the contaminants that their food sources contained.
How does mercury get into seafood?
Nearby anthropogenic sources, such as coal burning and mining of iron, can contaminate water sources with methylmercury, which is efficiently absorbed in the bodies of fish. Through the process of biomagnification, mercury levels in each successive predatory stage increase.
What happens when Mercury enters the environment?
It enters the water or soil from natural deposits, disposal of wastes, and volcanic activity. Methylmercury may be formed in water and soil by small organisms called bacteria. Methylmercury builds up in the tissues of fish. Larger and older fish tend to have the highest levels of mercury.