EARTH Thailand

Literature Review: The Impact of Mercury on Human Health

Mercury Disability Board, 2010

The approach used by the Mercury Disability Board to assess whether or not an applicant has signs or symptoms consistent with mercury poisoning was designed based on the state of science and knowledge of the impact of mercury on human health in the 1980s. In 2009 the Board commissioned a review of the literature to determine if there is new knowledge that might in some way inform the Board's work. Proposals were sought from senior scientists who have published in this field in the scholarly literature. Drs. Laurie Chan and Donna Mergler were engaged in July, 2009 to complete the work, as follows.

The intent of this project was to address the literature since 1985 on mercury contamination in human populations in order for the Board to review its current procedures and tools:

a) The effects of mercury contamination on human health (including the fetus) particularly: the effect of human physiology over the life course including short and long term effects; disability related to mercury; mental health or behavioural effects of mercury including psychosis; any evidence that mercury accelerates the development of chronic diseases related to the thyroid gland, arthritis, diabetes and the nervous system.

b) Any evidence of an interactive effect of mercury and other contaminants on human health.

c) Methods of measuring past or present mercury exposure in humans.

d) Independent review of literature produced by Dr. Masuzumi Harada.

e) Opinions on environmental contamination reporting in the area.

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