Heavy Metal

Mercury has had a long history of being used erroneously for medicine. The people who have fallen victim to heavy metal poisoning range from an ancient Chinese emperor who took mercury to become immortal to Beethoven who took it to cure syphilis. Dr. Ogden gave it to Murdoch to “ward off infection” after he sustained a serious injury, but this was not bad medical practices it was actually considered to good practice. In Victorian times, Mercury was thought to be a general cure, but it took a while to figure out that it should not be in the human body. It was being used in teething powder for infants in the 1920! Mercury poisoning is rare today but it still occurs, the biggest cause of Mercury poisoning is from eating seafood because there is a high concentration of mercury in them, this is due to Biomagnification, think of the food chain, the big fish eat the small fish and the small fish eat algae. Each link in the food chain absorbs a little more mercury from the one below it and mercury is hard to break down so mercury accumulates in the fish. Some of the symptoms of Mercury poisoning include shedding your skin and profuse sweating. So the moral is don’t eat fish too often and politely refuse the mercury injection next time you are in 19th century Toronto.


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