Are you a Victim of Mercury Poisoning?
You may be regretfully surprised.
Start your research right here.
"Mad as a Hatter"
Few  people who  use  the
phrase  today  realize that
there ’s  a  story of human
suffering behind it; the term
actually  derives  from  an
early industrial occupational
disease.  Felt  hats  were
once very popular in North
America   and  Europe; an
example is the top hat. The
best sorts were made from
beaver  fur,  but  cheaper
ones  used  furs  such as
rabbit instead.

A  complicated  set  of
processes  was needed to
turn the  fur into  a  finished
hat. With the cheaper sorts
of fur, an early step was to
brush a  solution  of  a
mercury compound —
usually   mercurous  nitrate
— on  to  the fur to roughen
the  fibres  and make  them
mat  more easily, a  process
called  carroting  because it
made the fur turn orange.
Beaver  fur  had  natural
serrated  edges that made
this  unnecessary,  one
reason why it was preferred,
but the  cost and scarcity of
beaver  meant  that other
furs  had  to  be used.

Whatever the source of the
fur,  the  fibres  were then
shaved  off  the  skin and
turned  into  felt;  this was
later immersed in a boiling
acid solution to thicken and
harden  it.  Finishing
processes  included
steaming  the hat  to shape
and  ironing it.  In all these
steps, hatters  working  in
poorly ventilated workshops
would  breathe  in  the
mercury  compounds  and
accumulate  the  metal in
their bodies.

We now know that mercury
is a cumulative poison that
causes  kidney  and  brain
damage. Physical symptoms
include trembling (known at
the time as hatter’s shakes),
loosening of teeth, loss of
co-ordination,  and  slurred
speech;  mental  ones
include  irritability,  loss of
memory  depression,
anxiety,  and other
personality changes. This
was  called  mad  hatter

It’s been a  very  long time
since mercury was used in
making hats,  and  now all
that   remains is  a relic
phrase that links to a nasty
period  in  manufacturing
history. But  mad  hatter
syndrome  remains common
as a  description of  the
symptoms  of  mercury
Mercury poisoning (also known as hydrargaria or mercurialism) is a disease caused by
exposure to mercury or its compounds. Mercury (chemical symbol Hg) is a heavy metal
which occurs in several forms, all of which can produce toxic effects in high enough doses.
exists as inorganic salts, and its mercuric state Hg2+ may form either inorganic salts or
organomercury compounds; the three groups vary in effects. Toxic effects include
damage to the brain, kidney, and lungs.
Mercury Poisoning
Sources & Health Effects
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  • When a mercury thermometer is broken, liquid
    mercury begins to turn into a gas.

  • If the spill is not cleaned up, the gas will
    contaminate the home.

  • If mercury is thrown in the trash and taken to the
    curb, it will eventually be burned with the rest of the
    trash and go into the air.

  • Rain carries mercury from the air to the ground
    where it flows to a body of water.

  • Bacteria in the water absorb the mercury and turn it
    into a more dangerous organic type of mercury,
    methyl mercury.

  • Fish eat the bacteria and it accumulates in their
    flesh. This is called bioaccumulation.

  • Accumulation of mercury is dangerous because
    mercury is more concentrated at the top of the food
    chain. The larger and older the fish, the more
    mercury it is likely to have.

  • For this reason, it is unhealthy to eat some types of
    fish more than once a week.

  • Exposure to mercury can cause nervous system
    damage and birth defects.
Mercury is liquid at room
Mercury is liquid at room
Mercury is the 2nd most toxic
substance on the planet with the
1st being radioactive uranium.
Mercury Poisoning
Sources & Health Effects
Key for terms in the below article:
Neuron =    is an electrically excitable cell that processes and transmits information by electrical
and chemical signaling.

Neurofibrils = Any of the long, thin, microscopic fibrils that run through the body of a neuron and
extend into the axon and dendrites, giving the neuron support and shape.

Tubulin =   A globular protein that insulates the neurofibrils in contrast like the way rubber
coating on a copper wire insulates it.

Neurofibril Tangles = an intracellular clump of neurofibrils made of insoluble protein in the brain
of a patient with Alzheimer's disease.

Mercury has long been known to be  potent neuro toxic substance,  whether it is inhaled or
consumed in the diet as a food contaminate.  Over the past 15 years medical research
laboratories have established that dental amalgam tooth fillings are a major contributor to
mercury body burden.  In 1997 a team of research scientist demonstrated that mercury vapor
inhalation by animals produced a molecular lesion in brain protein metabolism which was similar
to a lesion seen in 80% of Alzheimer's diseased brains.  Recently completed experiments by
scientist at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine now reveal with direct visual evidence
from brain neuron tissue cultures how mercury ions actually alter the cell membrane structure of
the developing neurons.  

To better understand mercury's affect on the brain start with this example of what brain neurons
look like and how they grow: In this example a each brain neuron with a central cell body and
numerous neurite processes.  At the end of each neurite is a growth cone where structural
proteins are assembled to form the cell membrane.  Two principal proteins involved in growth
cone function are Actin, which is responsible for the pulsating motion, and Tubulin a major
structural component for the neurite membrane.  During normal cell growth Tubulin molecules
link together end to end to form micro-tubules which surround neurofibrils another structural
protein component of the neuronal axon.    Experiments showing a neurite of a live neuron
isolated from snail brain tissue displaying linear growth do to growth cone activity.

*It is important to note that growth cones in all animals species ranging from snails to humans
have identical structural and behavioral characteristics and use proteins of virtually identical
composition.  In this experiment neurons also isolated from snail brain tissue  were grown in
culture for several days.  After which very low concentrations (30 µm, a microscopic amount) of
mercury were added to the culture medium for 20 minutes.  Over the next 30 minutes the neurite
membrane underwent rapid degeneration leaving behind the denuded neurofibrils.  In contrast
other heavy metals added at this same concentration such as aluminum, lead, cadmium,
manganese did not produce this effect.   

To understand how mercury causes this degeneration let's recall the previous example.  As
mentioned before Tubulin proteins linked together during normal cell growth to form the
micro-tubules which support the neurite structure (neuro fiber of the brain).  When mercury ions
are introduced into the culture medium they infiltrate the cell and bind themselves to the newly
synthesized Tubulin molecules.  More specifically the mercury ions attach themselves to the
binding site reserved for GTP on the beta subunit of the affected Tubulin molecules.  Since
bound GTP normally provides the energy which allows Tubulin molecules to attach to one
another mercury ions bound to these sites prevent Tubulin proteins from linking together.  
Consequently the neurites' micro tubules begin to disassemble into free Tubulin molecules
leaving the neurite stripped of its supporting structure.  Ultimately both the developing neurite
and its' growth cone collapse and some denuded neurofibrils form aggregates or tangles.  Note
that after mercury exposure the mercury has caused disintegration of Tubulin micro tubule
structure.  These new findings reveal important visual evidence as to how mercury causes
neuro degeneration.  More importantly this study provides the first direct evidence that low
level mercury exposure is indeed a precipitating factor that can initiate this neuro degenerative
process within the brain.  NeuroReport 12(4): 733-737,2001.
Consider a young child's developing brain.  Constant growth of brain neurons being degenerated.
Heavy metal testing for mercury is widely available.
The USA is ranked #1 in the world in degenerative diseases, Why?
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