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Avoiding mercury in pregnancy

Avoiding mercury during pregnancy is in the best interests of mother and baby. For the fetus, mercury exposure (which can be ingested or absorbed via the mothers skin) can result in brain and nervous system damage and also impacts on memory, attention, language and other skills once the child is born.

Mercury-contaminated fish and mercury spills are the most likely causes of exposure. Burning fossil fuels releases mercury into the environment where it enters waterways and fish populations. Mercury builds up over time in the body. There is a large body of evidence that suggests mercury compounds in tooth fillings are also an issue.

The EPA lists the following side effects of mercury exposure in adults:

  • Impairment of the peripheral vision
  • Disturbances in sensations (pins and needles, feelings, numbness) usually in the hands feet and sometimes around the mouth
  • Lack of coordination of movements, such as writing
  • Impairment of speech, hearing, walking
  • Muscle weakness
  • Skin rashes
  • Mood swing
  • Memory loss
  • Mental disturbance

So pregnant or planning, child or adult, it is worth being mindful of the ways mercury can enter our bodies. Read more about avoiding mercury in pregnancy.

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Lindy Schneider is a writer and researcher with a keen interest in health, wellbeing and natural childcare. She is an advocator of a chemical-free lifestyle in the best interests of her family, the community and a sustainable world. She lives in the Yarra Valley with her partner and two young children.

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