Methylmercury ingested by humans is immediately and completely absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. It is usually found along with free cysteine and proteins and peptides containing that amino acid.
The methylmercury cysteinyl complex is mistaken for methionine, another amino acid, by proteins that transport amino acids in the body.
As a result, methylmercury is transported throughout the body, including across the blood-brain barrier and the placenta, where it is absorbed by the developing fetus.
For this reason and its strong binding to proteins, methylmercury is not easily excreted from the body. Methylmercury has a half-life of about 50 days in the human body.
Several studies indicate that methylmercury leads to subtle developmental disorders, such as ADHD and decreased IQ, language skills and memory, in children exposed to it in utero.
Exposure to methylmercury also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart attack in adults.
There is evidence that methylmercury can cause autoimmune disease in vulnerable individuals.
There is no doubt that methylmercury is toxic, even to a developing fetus.
The neurological symptoms such as paraesthesia, loss of physical coordination, difficulty speaking, hemianopsia, hearing loss, blindness and eventually death.
Children exposed to methylmercury in utero suffered from symptoms such as motor disabilities, sensory problems and mental retardation.
- V -