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How to Know If You're Giving Yourself Mercury Poisoning from Fish

Some fish have levels of mercury so high that it may be harmful, especially for pregnant women and young children. Find out if you may have been exposed to mercury.


  • : Call your health-care provider if you have symptoms of organic mercury poisoning or if you know you have eaten foods that may have been contaminated with organic mercury.
  • Step 1: Know that symptoms take years to appear Know that, except when exposure is to large doses, it usually takes years or decades for symptoms of mercury poisoning to show up.
  • TIP: Mercury from seafood stays in the body for many months, but once you stop eating seafood, the level of mercury in your blood will most likely drop slowly down to a low level.
  • Step 2: Report seizures Report any seizures, which are often seen with exposure to large doses of mercury.
  • Step 3: Keep note of other symptoms Keep note of other symptoms such as skin numbness or pain, uncontrollable shakes or tremors, inability to walk normally, blindness or double vision, or memory problems.
  • Step 4: Make an appointment Make an appointment with your doctor to report your list of symptoms and concerns.
  • Step 5: Blood and urine tests Ask your doctor whether you should have blood and urine tests to measure mercury levels if you think you have consumed mercury-contaminated seafood.
  • FACT: Coal-fired power plants in the United States emit about 48 tons of mercury into the atmosphere each year.

You Will Need

  • Awareness of symptoms
  • Your doctor's advice

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