Thimerosal is an organic mercury compound that has been used in small amounts as a preservative in some vaccines. Although it is generally regarded as safe, the use of thimerosal is now being phased out. Thimerosal is no longer used as a preservative in any childhood vaccine, except for the influenza vaccine.
Yes. Dental amalgams (teeth fillings) are made up of about 50% metallic mercury. Some people feel that the tiny amount of mercury vapor released when a person chews may affect their health, but internationally most major health organizations feel that the amalgams are safe at this time. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that dental amalgams are safe for adults and children over age 6. A few countries have begun to restrict their use as a precaution.
3. What types of fish have higher levels of mercury?
Predator fish, those that eat other fish, have higher levels of mercury. Some of these include shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel. Some fish with lower levels of mercury include shrimp, canned light tuna, pollock, salmon, and catfish.
4. What can I do to reduce my exposure to mercury?
In addition to avoiding consumption of fish known to harbor higher levels of mercury, you can avoid purchase and use of consumer products that contain mercury, such as thermostats and thermometers, and alternative medicines that contain mercury. These include some Hispanic folk remedies and Ayurvedic herbal preparations. Dispose of batteries, light-up novelty toys, thermometers, thermostats, and other mercury-containing items, including compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), in hazardous waste facilities. Finally, exercise caution when handling CFLs, especially if you break one.
This article was last reviewed on October 29, 2014. | This article was last modified on October 29, 2014.
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