Ernest Foulkes PhD

Introduction

Mercury is a heavy metal widely distributed in nature, both as the metallic element (Hg0) and as

inorganic or organic compounds of its oxidation products, the mercurous (Hg ) and mercuric (Hg ) ions. These mercury species are readily interchangeable in the environment and in the body, and evidence suggests that their toxicity in many cases reflects the actions of the mercuric ions formed by oxidation of mercury or by breakage of the mercury-carbon bond. To that extent, different toxicities of individual compounds can largely be attributed to differences in their toxicokinetic properties such as rates of absorption, distribution, degradation, or oxidation to Hg , and finally excretion. Monosubstituted organic compounds of mercuric mercury may also react directly with

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