Mercury is extremely harmful to the environment, as it is a persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic pollutant. Results of human exposure include damage to the liver, gastrointestinal system, cardiovascular system, and nervous system. High-levels of exposure can result in mental disturbances, and even death. In addition, mercury exposure to pregnant or nursing women can result in genetic toxicity, causing damage to the fetus or developmental problems later in life.
The consumption of fish is the most significant source of mercury exposure for most people. It is estimated that medical waste incinerators contribute nine percent of mercury emissions. Currently, all New England states, including New Hampshire, have freshwater fish consumption advisories. For more information on New Hampshire's fish advisory, call the Health Risk Assessment Program at (800) 852-3345, ext. 4664. A brochure (Fact Sheet ARD-EHP-25) discussing the fish advisory is available to disseminate to patients and staff.
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