Pursuant to Proposition 65, mercury was listed as a chemical known to cause reproductive and developmental harm on July 1, 1990 while methylmercury and methylmercury compounds were listed as reproductive and developmental toxicants on June 1, 1987 and carcinogens on May 1, 1996. (Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment “OEHHA”.) Further, in their mercury factsheet (March 2016), OEHHA states that “taking certain dietary supplements and traditional medicine” can cause exposure to mercury and mercury compounds.
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR, 1999), mercury exposure may cause nervous system damage and adverse effects on our brains and kidneys and well as harm to unborn children. Mercury may also affect breathing and “may cause effects including lung damage, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increases in blood pressure or heart rate, skin rashes, and eye irritation (ATSDR, 1999, Mercury, ToxFAQs). Children may be at even more risk than adults may. Mercury can pass from mother to fetus causing “brain damage, mental retardation, incoordination, blindness, seizures, and inability to speak. Children poisoned by mercury may develop problems of their nervous and digestive systems, and kidney damage.” id.
Mercury bioaccumulates in fish, shellfish, soil, and plants and from there travels up the food chain to human consumption. Further exposure to mercury can occurring from fluorescent bulbs, inside thermometers, dental fillings, and batteries.