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Mercury and Your Body

Check out how mercury can affect the human body. Click on the different parts of the body to see what can happen when people are poisoned by mercury. How serious these health effects are may vary depending on how much mercury gets into your body — and how long you breathe it in.


Brain & Nervous

Mercury may cause damage to the nervous system, especially the brain. Brain damage from mercury poisoning can cause people to have:

Trouble remembering things
Difficulty sleeping
Changes in mood, like feeling cranky, nervous, tired, or shy
Numbness in the hands and feet
Trembling (shaking)
Problems with muscle coordination (tripping, dropping things, falling down)


Trouble hearing
  • Health effect caused by breathing in high levels of mercury vapors (fumes) over a short period of time
  • Health effect caused by breathing in lower levels of mercury vapors over a long period of time The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

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