At room temperature, mercury is a liquid metal that can evaporate to
Children are more likely to be affected by mercury exposure than
adults because their nervous systems are still developing. Exposure to small
amounts of mercury for a long time can cause damage to the brain,
You can be exposed to mercury by breathing vapors, by direct skin contact or by eating food or drinking water contaminated with mercury. The main way people are exposed is by breathing vapors, which allows the mercury to be absorbed by the lungs. Mercury can enter the body through the skin, especially if it contacts a cut or wound. If you swallow mercury, very little is absorbed. Most of the mercury is eliminated through the digestive tract.
When exposure to mercury stops, most symptoms usually go away; however, some effects on the brain and nervous system may be permanent. Once mercury has entered the body, it can take months before it is eliminated, mainly through the urine and feces.