A Review of Events That Expose Children to Elemental Mercury in the United States

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.
Ciencia & saude coletiva 03/2010; 15(2):585-98. DOI: 10.1590/S1413-81232010000200035
Source: PubMed


Concern for children exposed to elemental mercury prompted the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to review the sources of elemental mercury exposures in children, describe the location and proportion of children affected, and make recommendations on how to prevent these exposures. In this review, we excluded mercury exposures from coal-burning facilities, dental amalgams, fish consumption, medical waste incinerators, or thimerosal-containing vaccines. We reviewed federal, state, and regional programs with data on mercury releases along with published reports of children exposed to elemental mercury in the United States. We selected all mercury-related events that were documented to expose (or potentially expose) children. Primary exposure locations were at home, at school, and at others such as industrial property not adequately remediated or medical facilities. Exposure to small spills from broken thermometers was the most common scenario; however, reports of such exposures are declining. The information reviewed suggests that most releases do not lead to demonstrable harm if the exposure period is short and the mercury is properly cleaned up. Primary prevention should include health education and policy initiatives.

  • No preview · Article ·
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an international initiative to encourage students aged 9-14 to pursue careers in technological fields. In its four years of existence, the competition has grown dramatically. During the Fall 2001 semester, several Michigan Technological University students served as mentors for local FLL teams. This paper presents details about the national FIRST LEGO League program, and statistics from a survey of FLL coaches in Minnesota are summarized to shed light on the current state of the program. Michigan Tech's FLL mentorship program is described along with the desired outcomes and summarized assessment results. The paper then presents several issues Universities must consider if they would like to begin an FLL mentorship program. Finally, preliminary conclusions are drawn based on the first year of the Michigan Tech program.
    Preview · Conference Paper · Dec 2002
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Acute or chronic mercury exposure can cause adverse effects during any period of development. Mercury is a highly toxic element; there is no known safe level of exposure. Ideally, neither children nor adults should have any mercury in their bodies because it provides no physiological benefit. Prenatal and postnatal mercury exposures occur frequently in many different ways. Pediatricians, nurses, and other health care providers should understand the scope of mercury exposures and health problems among children and be prepared to handle mercury exposures in medical practice. Prevention is the key to reducing mercury poisoning. Mercury exists in different chemical forms: elemental (or metallic), inorganic, and organic (methylmercury and ethyl mercury). Mercury exposure can cause acute and chronic intoxication at low levels of exposure. Mercury is neuro-, nephro-, and immunotoxic. The development of the child in utero and early in life is at particular risk. Mercury is ubiquitous and persistent. Mercury is a global pollutant, bio-accumulating, mainly through the aquatic food chain, resulting in a serious health hazard for children. This article provides an extensive review of mercury exposure and children's health.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2010 · Current problems in pediatric and adolescent health care
Show more