Treatment and prevention of mercury poisoning

Treatment of mercury poisoning

It is aimed at neutralizing mercury and accelerating its removal from the body.

Rinse the stomach through the probe with the introduction of a 5% solution of unnthiol before and after washing the stomach (50 and 100 ml). Active infusion therapy and forced diuresis, early hemodialysis are necessary. In the presence of pain syndrome – narcotic drugs (promedol, morphine), glucose-novocaine mixture (500 ml of 10% glucose solution with 40 ml of 2% solution of novocaine intravenously drip). In shock, polyglyukine with mezaton, dopamine or dobutrex is prescribed intravenously on a physiological solution. Antidote is unitiol, which is administered intravenously drip (up to 200 ml of a 5% solution), followed by a decrease in dose as the poison is removed from the body. It is also recommended to drip intravenously sodium thiosulfate (30-60 ml of 30% solution in 500 ml of 5% glucose).

To prevent hemolysis, 500 ml of a 4% solution of sodium hydrogencarbonate is indicated.
When bleeding is performed haemostatic therapy. In toxic hepato- and nephropathy – protection of the liver and kidneys, treatment of acute renal failure.
With increased bleeding – ascorbic acid, rutin, glucocorticoids.
With increased excitability of the central nervous system – tranquilizers.
In chronic intoxication, D-penicillamine is administered internally.
A systematic examination and treatment of the oral cavity with a 0,02% solution of furacilin is recommended. With neurologic symptoms – thiamine hydrobromide, cyanocobalamin, proserin. With anemia, cyanocobalamin, pyridoxine, vitamin E, ascorbic acid.

In case of damage to the respiratory tract by mercury vapor – measures to prevent (and treat) pulmonary edema. For the prevention of the infection process – antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents.

Prevention of mercury poisoning

Prevention of mercury poisoning is based on strict compliance with sanitary and hygienic standards of the educational process, living quarters, environmental protection. At the same time, it is necessary to take into account the high sorption ability of mercury to be connected with various building elements, coatings, furniture, interior of residential and production-educational premises, which complicates deactivating measures. The maximum one-time maximum permissible concentration (MPC) of mercury for industrial premises is 0.01 mg / m3, mean-value concentration is 0.005 mg / m3; For atmospheric air – 0.0003 mg / m3; For organic compounds of mercury – 0,005 mg / m3, inorganic – 0,05 mg / m3.

Considering that during the sorption of mercury vapor it is deposited indefinitely in enclosed spaces, special soft floor coverings should be used, which do not allow mercury to penetrate between the floors and in the slit. Spilled mercury should be collected using a rubber pear, suction pump. Chemical demercurization of premises is made by 20% solution of ferric chloride.

Acute and chronic mercury poisoning


By inhalation of air containing mercury vapor at a concentration of no more than 0.25 mg / m3, the latter is delayed and accumulates in the lungs. In the case of higher concentrations, mercury is absorbed by intact skin. Depending on the amount of mercury and the duration of its intake into the human body, acute and chronic poisoning, as well as micromercurialism, are possible. The most sensitive to mercury poisoning are women and children.


Acute mercury poisoning manifests itself a few hours after the onset of poisoning. Symptoms of acute poisoning: general weakness, lack of appetite, headache, swallowing pain, metallic taste in the mouth, salivation, swelling and bleeding gums, nausea and vomiting. As a rule, there are severe pains in the abdomen, mucous diarrhea (sometimes with blood). Often there is inflammation of the lungs, catarrh of the upper respiratory tract, chest pain, cough and shortness of breath, often severe chills. Body temperature rises to 38-40 ° C. In the urine of the affected person, a significant amount of mercury is found. In severe cases, the victim’s death occurs in a few days. At the end of the nineteenth century, an experiment was described with the inhalation of several grams of mercury evaporated from an iron sheet: acute evaporation did not occur due to rapid evaporation.


Mercury is the general poisoning of the body when chronic exposure to fumes of mercury and its compounds, slightly exceeding the sanitary norm, for several months or years. It manifests itself depending on the organism and the state of the nervous system. Symptoms: increased fatigue, drowsiness, general weakness, headaches, dizziness, apathy, as well as emotional instability – self-doubt, shyness, general depression, irritability. Just the same: observed weakening of memory and self-control, decreased attention and mental abilities. Gradually, the trembling of the fingertips develops with excitement – “mercury tremor”, at the beginning of the fingers, then the legs and whole body (lips, eyelids), urge to excrement, frequent urge to urinate, decrease the sense of smell (obviously due to damage to enzymes that have Sulfhydryl group), skin sensitivity, taste. Sweating is increasing, the thyroid gland is enlarged, there are disturbances in the rhythm of cardiac activity, a drop in blood pressure.


Micromercurialism – chronic poisoning occurs when exposure to negligible amounts of mercury for 5-10 years.


At present, there are suspicions regarding the safety of certain mercury-containing preservatives. Suspected, in particular, that there may be a connection between thimerosal from vaccines and the development of autism in children, however, to date, there is no statistically reliable evidence of such a connection.

Help with mercury poisoning

Methylated mercury is very slowly excreted from the body: months in humans and years in fish. Therefore, the concentration of mercury along the biological chain continuously increases and in predator fish that feed on other fish, mercury can be thousands of times larger than in the water from which it is caught. This explains the so-called “Mina Mata disease” – the name of a seaside city in Japan, where in a few years 50 people died from poisoning with mercury and many born children had congenital malformations. The danger was so great that in some reservoirs it was necessary to stop fishing – so it turned out to be “stuffed” with mercury. Suffer from eating poisoned fish, not only people, but also fish, seals.

For mercury poisoning, including in pairs, headache, reddening and swelling of the gums and the appearance on them of a characteristic dark border of mercury sulfide, swelling of the lymph and salivary glands, digestive disorders are characteristic. With mild poisoning after 2-3 weeks, the disturbed functions of the body are restored as the removal of mercury from the body (this work is performed mainly by the kidneys, glands of the large intestine and salivary glands).

If the intake of mercury in the body occurs in very small doses, but for a long time, then chronic poisoning begins. It is characterized primarily by increased fatigue, weakness, drowsiness, apathy, headaches and dizziness. As you can see, these symptoms are very easily confused with manifestations of other diseases or even with a lack of vitamins. Therefore, to recognize such a poisoning is not easy. Of the other manifestations of mercury poisoning, mention should be made of mental disorders.

Cases of ingestion of significant amounts of metallic mercury are very rare, whereas acute poisoning with mercury vapor or its compounds is much more common.

When inhaled poisoning with mercury vapor, the victim is removed from the affected area and treated. To do this, use a 5% solution of Unithiol, applying it for subcutaneous or intravenous injection. In addition to Unithiol, 10 ml of a 10% solution of calcium chloride, 20-40 ml of a 40% solution of glucose and 10 ml of a 20% solution of sodium thiosulfate are intravenously administered intravenously.

In acute poisoning with salts of mercury, as a result of their entry into the stomach, unithiol is injected into the body and antidotum metallorum is simultaneously given. In 1 liter of this drug contains 3.75 g of magnesium sulfate, 12.5 g of sodium bicarbonate, 1 g of sodium hydroxide and 0.4% of hydrogen sulphide.

In the absence of antidotum metallorum, the stomach is abundantly washed with water containing 20-30 g of activated charcoal or protein water, then milk is given, egg white, whipped with water and finally laxative. To wash the stomach is also recommended 5% solution of rongalite.

When poisoning with mercury or its compounds, the mouth is rinsed with a weak solution of bertholets salt or a 5% solution of zinc chloride.

In addition to unithiol, other dithiol compounds, for example 2,3-dimercaptopropanol, are also used for first aid and treatment.

Recently, along with the listed drugs for the treatment of intoxications with mercury and other heavy metals, as well as for preventive purposes, salts of aminopolycarboxylic acids are used, which belong to the group of chelates or complexing agents (complexons). With the use of complexons, the excretion of mercury from the body increases, and the release of the organism from the deposited mercury is accompanied by the normalization of disturbed oxidation-reduction processes.