Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can affect the brain, spinal cord, kidneys and liver. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to one in 10 women in the U.S. already carry enough mercury in their blood to pose a threat of neurological damage to the fetus.
pdf: Health Effects of Mercury Exposure
Only a few years ago, many devices used in the health care setting contained mercury. Due to the efforts of organizations such as Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), many of these devices have been phased out in favor of mercury-free devices. The HCWH Mercury page contains a wealth of resources to help health care facilities phase out mercury containing devices.
Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) contain a small amount of mercury. They need to be disposed of properly (not in your regular trash) and you should follow these cleanup recommendations from the EPA if one accidentally breaks. Cleaning up a Broken CFL
Fish can be an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Unfortunately some fish can contain high levels of mercury. This occurs through bioaccumulation.The Monterey Aquarium has developed a series of resources to help consumers learn about which fish are safer to eat as well as which to avoid. Their resources also take into account other factors such as overfishing. They also offer a great pocketguide and iPhone application to help you make informed fish consumption decisions. Go to: Seafood Watch.