help with this question!

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help with this question!

Post by cephie » Sat Jan 28, 2006 8:18 pm

What property of Hg accounts for its long retention time in organisms?

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Inland Taipan
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Post by MrMistery » Sun Jan 29, 2006 12:19 pm

It's the way your organism deals with the problem that accounts for its long retention time. When Hg gets inside the body, your body automatically detects it(have no clue how) and incorporates it into your bones in order to prevent the concentration of it into your blood get to high. Then the bones gradually release it and it is excreted.

There may be other causes, by i know this for sure
"As a biologist, I firmly believe that when you're dead, you're dead. Except for what you live behind in history. That's the only afterlife" - J. Craig Venter

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King Cobra
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Post by Dr.Stein » Mon Jan 30, 2006 8:31 am


Very high exposures to mercury vapor in the air can cause acute poisoning. Symptoms usually begin with cough, chest tightness, trouble breathing and upset stomach. This may go on to pneumonia, which can be fatal.

If the inorganic mercury compounds are swallowed, nausea, vomiting diarrhea and severe kidney damage can occur.


Exposure to any form of mercury on a repeated basis, or even from a single, very high exposure can lead to the disease of chronic mercury poisoning. There are three main symptoms:

1. Gum problems. The gums become soft and spongy, the teeth get loose, sores may develop, and there may be increased saliva.

2. Mood and mental changes. People with chronic mercury poisoning often have wide swings of mood, becoming irritable, frightened, depressed or excited very quickly for no apparent reason. Such people may become extremely upset at any criticism, lose all self-confidence, and become apathetic. Hallucinations, memory loss and inability to concentrate can occur.

3. Nervous system. The earliest and most frequent symptom is a fine tremor (shaking) of the hand. A tremor may also occur in the tongue and eyelids. Eventually this can progress to trouble balancing and walking.


There are a number of other symptoms that may be caused by exposure to mercury and mercury-containing compounds.

* A skin allergy may develop. If this happens, repeated exposure causes rash and itching.
* Exposure to mercury vapor can cause the lens of the eye to discolor.
* Some of the inorganic mercury compounds can cause burns or severe irritation of the skin and eyes on contact.


Some organic mercury compounds (methylmercury) are known to cause birth defects in children born of exposed mothers. It is not known whether inorganic compounds or elemental mercury have this effect.


There are two tests available to measure mercury in the body:

The Mercury Blood Test measures exposure to all three types of mercury, but because mercury remains in the bloodstream for only a few days after exposure, the test must be done soon after exposure. Most non-exposed people have mercury levels of 0 to 2 (all blood measurements are in micrograms of mercury per deciliter of blood, or ug/dl). Levels above 2.8 ug/dl are required to be reported to the Health Department. This test can be influenced by eating fish, because fish (particularly certain deep sea fish) may contain mercury.

The Urine Mercury Test only measures exposure to elemental and inorganic mercury. Organic mercury is not passed out the body in the urine and thus cannot be measured this way. A person with no exposure to mercury would probably have a urine mercury level of 0 to 20 ug/L. The Health Department requires reporting of levels above 20.

Happy reading ;)

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