Methylmercury in food, such as fish, is a particular health hazard because it is easily taken up into the body through the stomach and intestines. It is a poison for the nervous system. Exposure during pregnancy is of most concern, because it may harm the development of the unborn baby's brain.
•Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil.
•Exposure to mercury – even small amounts – may cause serious health problems, and is a threat to the development of the child in utero and early in life.
•Mercury may have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, and on lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes.
•Mercury is considered by WHO as one of the top ten chemicals or groups of chemicals of major public health concern.
•People are mainly exposed to methylmercury, an organic compound, when they eat fish and shellfish that contain the compound.