Agent Name

Mercury, inorganic compounds

Formula

Hg***

Major Category

Metals

Synonyms

Water-soluble mercury compounds: chlorides, nitrates, chlorates, cyanide, fluorides, and bromides; Water-insoluble compounds: oxides and sulfides. [ACGIH]

Category

Mercury Compounds, Inorganic

Sources/Uses

A by-product of gold and bauxite mining; Used in pigments, refining, lubrication oils, catalysts, and in water-based paints as a preservative and mildewcide; [ACGIH]

Comments

Ingestion (non-occupational) is the usual route of exposure. Inorganic mercury poisoning causes acute hemorrhagic gastroenteritis followed by acute tubular necrosis. In cases of acute poisoning, whole blood mercury levels usually exceed 50 ug/dL. [Sullivan, p. 872] Chronic exposure to inorganic mercury may produce proteinuria as evidence of kidney injury. [LaDou, p. 427] Inorganic and elemental mercury can cause peripheral neuropathy. [LaDou, p. 380] Ammoniated mercury is a moderate skin sensitizer, and mercuric chloride is a strong sensitizer. Mercury can produce slight hepatic injury in experimental animals. [Zimmerman, p. 419] Data is limited on the fetal effects of mercury in forms other than methyl mercury. Experimental animals exposed to high doses of mercury vapor and salts have increased developmental abnormalities. [ATSDR Case Studies #17] See "Mercury, alkyl compounds," "Mercury, aryl compounds," and "Mercury, elemental."

Exposure Assessment
BEI

"This BEI applies only to exposures to elemental mercury." [ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values: 2013 Supplement to the 7th Edition]

Skin Designation (ACGIH)

Yes

Bioaccumulates

Yes

TLV (ACGIH)

0.02 mg/m3, as Hg

PEL (OSHA)

0.1 mg/m3, as Hg

MAK

0.02 mg/m3

IDLH (NIOSH)

10 mg/m3, as Hg

Half Life

Metallic and inorganic in whole body: 1-2 months; blood: 2 days to 1 month; methylmercury in blood: 1 month; methylmercury in whole body: 44-79 days; [TDR, p. 813]

Reference Link

ATSDR Medical Management - Mercury

Adverse Effects
Nephrotoxin

Yes

Reproductive Toxin

Yes

Neurotoxin

Sensorimotor Neuropathy

Hepatotoxin

Hepatotoxin, Secondary

IARC Carcinogen

Not Classifiable

ACGIH Carcinogen

Not Classifiable

Links to Other NLM Databases
Toxicity Information

Related Information in HazMap
Diseases

Occupational diseases associated with exposure to this agent:

Processes

Industrial Processes with risk of exposure: