Mercury (Hg) is a metallic element. Inorganic compounds containing mercury are often used in inks, adhesives, and as a catalyst in reactions to form polyurethanes (ATSDR 2011).  

Mercury can exist in a variety of compounds and some forms are more toxic than others. Methylmercury, for example, is a form of organic mercury that is particularly hazardous to the developing brain. The main pathway of exposure to methylmercury is from eating contaminated fish and it is unlikely that this form would be present in consumer goods. 

Health Effects:

  • Mercury is a persistent toxic chemical that can build up in the body.

  • All forms of mercury can affect the kidneys (ATSDR 2011).

  • Organic, inorganic, and metallic mercury are toxic to the nervous system, each affecting different regions of the brain (ATSDR 2011).

  • Young children are more sensitive to mercury and may be exposed to mercury via the mother’s body to the fetus or through breast milk (ATSDR 2011).



ATSDR. Toxicological Profile for Mercury. Toxic Substances Portal (2011).  

Published on September 27, 2016

IMPORTANT NOTE: ratings do not provide a measure of health risk or chemical exposure associated with any individual product, or any individual element or related chemical.