What Is Mercury and Why Is It So Harmful To Your Unborn Child?

An excerpt from Dr. Daoshing Ni’s book, The Tao of Fertility:

Mercury is a naturally occurring metal that has several forms. It is increasingly found in our food sources and in our environment. Combined with other elements such as chlorine, sulfur, and oxygen, it forms inorganic mercury compounds or “salts,” which are usually white powders or crystals. It also combines with carbon to make organic mercury compounds. The most common one, methylmercury, is produced mainly by microscopic organisms in the water or soil. This methylmercury, which may be formed in water, builds up in the tissues of fish. Larger and older fish tend to have the highest levels of mercury.

When you eat fish or shellfish contaminated with methylmercury, the mercury in your body passes to the fetus and may accumulate there. It can also pass to a nursing infant through breast milk. Mercury’s harmful effects that may be passed from the mother to the fetus include brain damage, mental retardation, incoordination, blindness, seizures, and inability to speak. Children poisoned by mercury may develop problems in their nervous and digestive systems, and kidney damage.

Learn about wildlife and fish advisories in your area from your public health or natural resources department. It’s a small price to pay for a healthy child.

Here are a couple of resources for California: