Maybe there IS a good reason NURSES are so sick

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by dojomo, Nov 16, 2002.

  1. dojomo

    dojomo New Member


    I'm aging myself here.....(remembering glass thermometers)
    And I know I have seen a few break..but I didn't know that there was enough mercury in a thermometer to pollute a 20 acre lake........we never treated mercury spills seriously enough.....Image the amount of mercury vapors in a hospital.
    Not to mention the vaccines we have been given......that contain mercury...

    Maybe nurses and health care professionals have had more exposure to mercury than we know....




    The Problem with Mercury

    In addition to PVC and DEHP, another toxic substance that nurses work with daily is mercury. Mercury is a liquid metal that is widely used in the hospital because it responds easily to temperature and pressure changes. Mercury is found in thermometers, and in some weighted esophageal dilators, feeding tubes, saline with thimerosal, mercurochrome, dental amalgams, batteries, sphygmomanometers, barometers, manometers, fluorescent lamps, switches, thermostats, cleaners, microwave ovens and some plastics. Like PVC, mercury is omnipresent around the hospital.
    Mercury is a potent neurotoxin, and carcinogenic in large doses. In 1865, Lewis Carroll wrote about a character called the Mad Hatter in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The Mad Hatter was fictional, but the strange behavior he displayed was not. In the hatmaking industry in the 1800's, hatters used mercury in the felt-making process. Many hatters subsequently developed mercury poisoning. Even today we use the phrase "mad as a hatter" to denote someone who is a bit crazy. Mercury attacks the central nervous system and can damage the brain, kidneys and lungs. It crosses the blood-brain barrier as well as the placenta. Methylmercury, the most common and most dangerous form of mercury, is classified as a reproductive toxin for its effects on fetal development. During fetal development, exposure to methylmercury prevents the brain and nervous system from developing normally.

    Nurses are exposed to mercury in two ways. The first and most significant exposure occurs through human consumption of fish. Large amounts of mercury are made airborne upon incineration of mercury-containing products. This happens when mercury is incinerated both in medical waste and municipal waste incinerators. Once mercury is in the atmosphere, its falls to the ground with rain and snow, landing on soil and in water sources. When it falls into water, mercury bioaccumlates in the muscle tissues of fish. When fish is consumed, humans also consume all of the mercury burden accumulated by that particular fish during its lifetime. There is no way to remove mercury from fish by cleaning them, soaking them or otherwise cooking them in a special way.

    The second way nurses are exposed to mercury is through occupational exposure. When mercury containing equipment breaks, nurses are exposed to the mercury vapors and also may have actual contact with the substance itself during the incident and clean-up. When a spill involves a patient, the nurse may be first on the scene to help cleanup the patient.

    If exposed, symptoms of mercury poisoning include: impairment of the peripheral vision; disturbances in sensation, usually in the hands, feet and mouth; lack of coordination of movements such as writing; impairment of speech, hearing and walking; muscle weakness; skin rashes; mood swings; memory loss; mental disturbances; coma; and death.
    Like dioxin, a little mercury goes a long way. Four grams of mercury (the amount found in four glass household thermometers) will contaminate a twenty-acre lake activating fish advisories. For comparison, a teaspoon of mercury contains 70 grams of mercury. Fish in 37 states and in 1,308 water bodies have been contaminated with mercury at levels that make them unsafe for human consumption. Like dioxin, mercury bioaccumulates up the food chain, with larger fish carrying larger concentrations. Humans eating 1-2 ounces of fish with predicted mercury concentrations above one part per million (micrograms) per day would be ingesting mercury at levels approaching or exceeding ten times the US EPA's RfD. (The RfD is a daily ingestion level anticipated to be without adverse effects to persons, including sensitive subpopulations, over a lifetime.) Tuna, the most consumed fish in the US, is at the top of the aquatic food chain containing 0.206 micrograms of mercury per gram of wet weight. In understandable terms, ingesting one tuna sandwich a day, containing 1-2 ounces of tuna, doses the human body with 20 times the RfD. Many of us consume tuna thinking that we are eating healthily when in fact, we are consuming mercury along with the tuna. Fish eating subpopulations, such as Eskimos, are especially vulnerable to mercury poisoning.
  2. dojomo

    dojomo New Member


    I'm aging myself here.....(remembering glass thermometers)
    And I know I have seen a few break..but I didn't know that there was enough mercury in a thermometer to pollute a 20 acre lake........we never treated mercury spills seriously enough.....Image the amount of mercury vapors in a hospital.
    Not to mention the vaccines we have been given......that contain mercury...

    Maybe nurses and health care professionals have had more exposure to mercury than we know....




    The Problem with Mercury

    In addition to PVC and DEHP, another toxic substance that nurses work with daily is mercury. Mercury is a liquid metal that is widely used in the hospital because it responds easily to temperature and pressure changes. Mercury is found in thermometers, and in some weighted esophageal dilators, feeding tubes, saline with thimerosal, mercurochrome, dental amalgams, batteries, sphygmomanometers, barometers, manometers, fluorescent lamps, switches, thermostats, cleaners, microwave ovens and some plastics. Like PVC, mercury is omnipresent around the hospital.
    Mercury is a potent neurotoxin, and carcinogenic in large doses. In 1865, Lewis Carroll wrote about a character called the Mad Hatter in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The Mad Hatter was fictional, but the strange behavior he displayed was not. In the hatmaking industry in the 1800's, hatters used mercury in the felt-making process. Many hatters subsequently developed mercury poisoning. Even today we use the phrase "mad as a hatter" to denote someone who is a bit crazy. Mercury attacks the central nervous system and can damage the brain, kidneys and lungs. It crosses the blood-brain barrier as well as the placenta. Methylmercury, the most common and most dangerous form of mercury, is classified as a reproductive toxin for its effects on fetal development. During fetal development, exposure to methylmercury prevents the brain and nervous system from developing normally.

    Nurses are exposed to mercury in two ways. The first and most significant exposure occurs through human consumption of fish. Large amounts of mercury are made airborne upon incineration of mercury-containing products. This happens when mercury is incinerated both in medical waste and municipal waste incinerators. Once mercury is in the atmosphere, its falls to the ground with rain and snow, landing on soil and in water sources. When it falls into water, mercury bioaccumlates in the muscle tissues of fish. When fish is consumed, humans also consume all of the mercury burden accumulated by that particular fish during its lifetime. There is no way to remove mercury from fish by cleaning them, soaking them or otherwise cooking them in a special way.

    The second way nurses are exposed to mercury is through occupational exposure. When mercury containing equipment breaks, nurses are exposed to the mercury vapors and also may have actual contact with the substance itself during the incident and clean-up. When a spill involves a patient, the nurse may be first on the scene to help cleanup the patient.

    If exposed, symptoms of mercury poisoning include: impairment of the peripheral vision; disturbances in sensation, usually in the hands, feet and mouth; lack of coordination of movements such as writing; impairment of speech, hearing and walking; muscle weakness; skin rashes; mood swings; memory loss; mental disturbances; coma; and death.
    Like dioxin, a little mercury goes a long way. Four grams of mercury (the amount found in four glass household thermometers) will contaminate a twenty-acre lake activating fish advisories. For comparison, a teaspoon of mercury contains 70 grams of mercury. Fish in 37 states and in 1,308 water bodies have been contaminated with mercury at levels that make them unsafe for human consumption. Like dioxin, mercury bioaccumulates up the food chain, with larger fish carrying larger concentrations. Humans eating 1-2 ounces of fish with predicted mercury concentrations above one part per million (micrograms) per day would be ingesting mercury at levels approaching or exceeding ten times the US EPA's RfD. (The RfD is a daily ingestion level anticipated to be without adverse effects to persons, including sensitive subpopulations, over a lifetime.) Tuna, the most consumed fish in the US, is at the top of the aquatic food chain containing 0.206 micrograms of mercury per gram of wet weight. In understandable terms, ingesting one tuna sandwich a day, containing 1-2 ounces of tuna, doses the human body with 20 times the RfD. Many of us consume tuna thinking that we are eating healthily when in fact, we are consuming mercury along with the tuna. Fish eating subpopulations, such as Eskimos, are especially vulnerable to mercury poisoning.
  3. dolsgirl

    dolsgirl New Member

    I found that article you wrote very interesting. I did like those themometers though! But, they starting using non-mercury themometers by the time I graduated from nursing school. I used many as a teenager when I worked as a nurses aide though. It could explain alot.

    On top of that, think of how many blood pressures that we take a day? dolsgirl
  4. dojomo

    dojomo New Member

    ...to post and than I need a research break.......there are all kinds of studies about mercury-induced autoimmunity. All indicate a genetic connection too...here is a good one....DJ


    Resistance to xenobiotic-induced autoimmunity maps to chromosome 1.
    Kono DH, Park MS, Szydlik A, Haraldsson KM, Kuan JD, Pearson DL, Hultman P, Pollard KM.

    Department of Immunology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA. dkono@scripps.edu

    Although evidence indicates that environmental factors play a major role in precipitating systemic autoimmunity in genetically susceptible individuals, little is known about the mechanisms involved. Certain heavy metals, such as mercury, are potent environmental immunostimulants that produce a number of immunopathologic sequelae, including lymphoproliferation, hypergammaglobulinemia, and overt systemic autoimmunity. Predisposition to such metal-induced immunopathology has been shown to be influenced by both MHC and non-MHC genes, as well as susceptibility to spontaneous lupus, in mice and other experimental animals. Among the various mouse strains examined to date, the DBA/2 appears to uniquely lack susceptibility to mercury-induced autoimmunity (HgIA), despite expressing a susceptible H-2 haplotype (H-2d). To define the genetic basis for this trait, two genome-wide scans were conducted using F2 intercrosses of the DBA/2 strain with either the SJL or NZB strains, both of which are highly susceptible to HgIA. A single major quantitative trait locus on chromosome 1, designated Hmr1, was shown to be common to both crosses and encompassed a region containing several lupus susceptibility loci. Hmr1 was linked to glomerular immune complex deposits and not autoantibody production, suggesting that DBA/2 resistance to HgIA may primarily involve the later stages of disease pathogenesis. Identification and characterization of susceptibility/resistance genes and mechanisms relevant to the immunopathogenesis of mercury-induced autoimmunity should provide important insights into the pathogenesis of autoimmunity and may reveal novel targets for intervention
  5. karen55

    karen55 New Member

    I used to "play" with the mercury that came out of a broken thermometer! I am serious here, I remember thinking it was "so neat" the way it rolled around in my hand in little balls. I did that many times. No one ever told me not to, and my dad was a Dr. and my mom was a Med Tech!

    I find this very interesting, and more than a little bit frightening!
  6. yellowrose1

    yellowrose1 New Member

    Count me in as one of the many nurses that after a 24yr hx of healthcare have seen my share of "cool shiney stuff" that I just had to play with. By the way, How do we know if we have mercury fillings in our mouth.
    Sonya