Vegan Health ArticlesFish and Shellfish: Contamination Problems Preclude Inclusion in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
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From Spring 2004

Mercury and the Central Nervous System

Acute methylmercury exposure has been shown to cause severe neurological dysfunction and developmental abnormalities, including mental retardation, abnormal reflexes, disturbances in physical growth, blindness, paralysis, cerebral palsy, and limb deformities in children whose mothers were exposed to high levels of mercury while they were in utero.1

Lower-dose chronic exposures also have very serious effects on the developing central nervous system in children and on the adult central nervous system. In general, children exposed to mercury show changes in neurological status and achieve lower scores on developmental scales, language development tests, IQ tests, visual-spatial skills scales, and other tests.1 A recent paper showed that some of these neurodevelopmental effects of prenatal exposure to methylmercury persist through 14 years of age and thus are likely to be irreversible.12 The study also found correlations between neurodevelopmental impairments and post-natal mercury exposure (i.e., the children’s levels of fish consumption). The most striking finding in this study was that some of the adverse effects on brain function occurred in children who had exposure levels well below the RfD.12

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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.