Methylmercury in the environment: a review of current understanding.


Journal Article

The danger of methylmercury poisoning appears to be slight when the environment is not directly contaminated with methylmercury. Sediments rapidly bind mercury and decrease its availability to aquatic organisms. Sediments further have a greater propensity to demethylate than to methylate mercury. In noncontaminated aquatic ecosystems, the concentrations of methylmercury and inorganic mercury are many times lower than those that have been found to cause toxicity, even in the most sensitive organisms. Methylmercury bound to protein is comparatively less toxic than methylmercury salts, and selenium present in this protein appear to be one of the major detoxifying agents for methylmercury. This is particularly important in seafood, where there is an excess of selenium compared to methylmercury.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Stopford, W; Goldwater, LJ

Published Date

  • December 1, 1975

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 /

Start / End Page

  • 115 - 118

PubMed ID

  • 1227851

Pubmed Central ID

  • 1227851

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0091-6765

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1289/ehp.7512115


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States