Originally published September 23 2009
Dangerous Mercury Contamination of Human Body Increasing, Study Finds
by S. L. Baker, features writer
(NaturalNews) It's no secret mercury is a dangerous toxin that accumulates in the human body and can produce disastrous health problems involving multiple organ systems. It's known to be a risk to unborn babies, too. Unfortunately, as NaturalNews has reported, mercury contamination of our environment and food sources is rampant. For example, scientists have found that fish(http://www.naturalnews.com/025935_mercury_he...) and high fructose corn syrup (http://www.naturalnews.com/026528_mercury_bl...) are often loaded with the dangerous heavy metal. Now comes this worrisome news: deposits of mercury in the bodies of Americans are increasing at an alarming rate and the health repercussions could be staggering.
Mercury especially targets the liver, the immune system and the pituitary gland. Numerous studies have associated chronic mercury exposure with elevated risks for autism, mental impairment and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Previous research by U.S. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) researchers estimated that chronic mercury exposure caused between 300,000 and 600,000 American children to be born with elevated risks of neurodevelopmental disorders between 1999 and 2000.
A new University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) study of government data on more than 6,000 women in the US found not only that mercury loads in bodies are increasing but it also identified significant associations between chronic mercury exposure and immune and endocrine system functions. The research specifically revealed that levels of the pituitary hormone, lutropin (also called luteinizing hormone) are significantly associated with chronic mercury exposure. This could explain a mechanism for how mercury causes or contributes to degenerative and neurodevelopmental diseases.
"My study found compelling evidence that inorganic mercury deposition within the human body is a cumulative process, increasing with age and overall in the population over time," study author Dan R. Laks, a neuroscience researcher at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said in a statement to the media."My findings also suggest a rise in risks for disease associated with mercury over time."
For his research, which was recently published online in the international biology, biochemistry and medicine journal Biometals, Laks studied computer analyses of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). He investigated inorganic mercury levels in the blood of 6,168 women between the ages of 18 and 49 in NHANES data sets from 1999 to 2000, 2001 to 2002, 2003 to 2004 and 2005 to 2006. In all, between 1,455 and 1,622 women were in each two-year matched group.
Mercury has elemental, organic and inorganic forms, depending on the sources of exposure. Mercury in contaminated fish, for instance, is organic. However, studies in animals have shown that with chronic exposure to organic mercury, the metal changes to its inorganic form -- so inorganic mercury is usually considered the best measure of chronic mercury exposure. And when Laks looked for inorganic mercury in the blood of women studied in 2005-2006, he found it in 30 percent of the blood samples. That's an increase in mercury of two percent over women in the 1999 to 2000 study.
What's more, the overall population average of blood inorganic mercury concentration increased significantly between 1999 and 2006, as well. Neuroscientist Laks also conducted a separate statistical analysis of older women and discovered they had more inorganic mercury in their blood than younger women.
"These results suggest that chronic mercury exposure has reached a critical level where inorganic mercury deposition within the human body is accumulating over time. It is logical to assume that the risks of associated neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases will rise as well," Laks stated.
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