Effects of chronic occupational exposure to mercury, such as that commonly experienced by affected hatters, include mental confusion, emotional disturbances, and muscular weakness.
Severe neurological damage and kidney damage can also occur.
How does mercury affect the brain?
Mercury exposure at high levels can harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system. High levels of methylmercury in the bloodstream of unborn babies and young children may harm the developing nervous system, making the child less able to think and learn.
How does mercury in fish affect humans?
Methylmercury in food, such as fish, is a particular health hazard because it is easily taken up into the body through the stomach and intestines. It is a poison for the nervous system. 2.1.2 Elemental mercury is also poisonous to the nervous system. Humans are mainly exposed by inhaling vapours.
How long does it take for Mercury to leave your body?
And even if you stop being exposed to that mercury, it sticks around. It takes up to 18 years for the body to clear half of the dose of mercury from the body. Once mercury is in the body it comes out only VERY slowly.
What caused Hatters to go mad?
The origin of the phrase, it’s believed, is that hatters really did go mad. The chemicals used in hat-making included mercurous nitrate, used in curing felt. Prolonged exposure to the mercury vapors caused mercury poisoning.