Indianapolis Mercury Poisoning Lawyers
Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found throughout the environment. When large amounts of mercury accumulate inside the body, however, serious health problems can ensue, including severe damage to the nervous system.
Contact the Indianapolis mercury poisoning lawyers of the Hankey Law Office at (317) 634-8565 if you or someone you know has suffered from health problems due to exposure to mercury.
Types of Mercury and Mercury Exposure
As mentioned above, mercury occurs almost everywhere in nature, and is typically found in three forms:
- Metallic — a metal that remains in liquid form at room temperature but that evaporates easily into the air, and is extremely dangerous to breathe. Often this form of mercury is found in batteries, thermometers, and dental fillings.
- Inorganic — inorganic mercury results when mercury is combined with other elements to create powders or crystals. This form of mercury can be found in ointments and antiseptic creams.
- Organic — organic mercury results when mercury combines with carbon. This type of mercury is frequently found in freshwater and saltwater fish.
While small amounts of mercury are unavoidable and generally harmless, mercury in large quantities can cause severe long-term damage to any individual who comes into contact with it, particularly in its organic form.
As such, strict regulations have been put on mercury limits allowed in various products, including fish and vaccines, to prevent dangerous exposure to high levels of mercury.
Some soils contain high levels of mercury because of contamination from buried materials, such as fluorescent light bulbs. Also, coal plants emit a high level of mercury into the air, accounting for roughly half of all atmospheric mercury. People can get mercury poisoning from inhaling this contaminated air.
If you have been exposed to dangerous levels of mercury, the Indianapolis mercury poisoning attorneys at Hankey Law Office will provide you with the legal consultation and representation you need to bring a strong case against the individuals or companies that put your health at risk.
Common Symptoms of Mercury Poisoning
Mercury poisoning can result in a wide range of possible symptoms, some of which may be more subtle than others. You could experience such symptoms as:
- vision changes
- trouble walking
- nerve loss in hands and face
- irritability or mood changes
- muscle weakness
- lack of coordination
- memory problems
- hearing and speech difficulties
- physical tremors
- pathologic shyness
- metallic taste in the mouth
- nausea and vomiting
- memory problems
- lack of motor skills or feeling uncoordinated
- inability to feel in the hands, face, or other areas
- changes in vision, hearing, or speech
- difficulty walking or standing straight
- difficulty breathing
- Itchy or burning sensation on the skin
- pink fingertips, toes, or cheeks
- dead skin peeling off of the patient
- excessive sweating
- fast heartbeat or high blood pressure
- muscle weakness
Mercury can also affect a child’s early development and could lead to symptoms that include, but are not limited to:
- visual-spatial awareness delays
- impaired motor skills
- speech and language development delays
- problems thinking or problem-solving
- delays in fine motor skills
- difficulties learning to speak or understanding language
- delays in cognition
- being physically unaware of their surroundings
- issues with hand-eye coordination
Mercury poisoning can be challenging to diagnose, so you should always consult a physician when you suspect possible mercury poisoning.
Frequently Asked Questions about Mercury Poisonining
How does mercury enter the body?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that people can be exposed to mercury in many different ways, but eating fish containing methylmercury is the most common way people in the United States are exposed to mercury. Virtually all people worldwide have at least trace amounts of methylmercury in their bodies although the levels are usually below the level associated with possible health effects, and most methylmercury exposures in the United States occur through eating fish and shellfish containing higher levels of methylmercury. People can also be exposed to elemental or metallic mercury when mercury is released from a container, product, or device that breaks.
Failure to clean up the mercury can lead to it evaporating and becoming an invisible, odorless, toxic vapor in which people breathe into their lungs. Sources of metallic mercury include fever thermometers, novelty jewelry, other consumer products, dental fillings, and gold mining. Other compounds of mercury, such as phenylmercury acetate or ethylmercury, were used in a variety of products but have largely been discontinued. Certain medicines may have small amounts of mercury compounds as preservatives, and mercury may also be used in skin lighteners and anti-aging products.
How do I get tested for mercury?
Mercury testing is used to detect the presence of an excessive amount of mercury in a person’s blood and/or urine, and blood is primarily tested to detect the presence of methyl mercury. A red blood cell (RBC) test is used to measure exposure over the past three months. Metallic and inorganic mercury could also be detected in the blood. Urine is used to test for metallic mercury and inorganic forms of mercury, but cannot determine exposure to methyl mercury. Hair testing could be used to detect methyl mercury exposures that occurred several months previously.
What kinds of damages could I be entitled to for mercury poisoning?
You should know that many mercury poisoning cases will be resolved through settlements because the insurance companies involved are generally unwilling to take a case to trial. Occasionally, there will be a case that does result in a lawsuit and a person who proves that their mercury poisoning injuries were caused by the negligence of another party will usually be awarded many kinds of compensatory damages, which is a phrase that often includes some combination of economic damages and noneconomic damages. Economic damages would include the actual costs associated with your injuries like lost income and medical expenses while noneconomic damages are awards for harm that is more emotional or psychological in nature such as pain and suffering or emotional distress.
Mercury Poisoning Statistics
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that CDC scientists measured total mercury in the blood of 8,373 participants one year of age and older who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) during 2003 to 2004 in the Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. During the 2003–2004 NHANES, CDC scientists measured mercury in the urine of 2,538 participants six years of age and older.
According to the CDC, the geometric mean for blood total mercury for the total population from 2015 to 2016 was 0.678 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL). Just 10 years earlier, the geometric mean had been 0.863 µg/dL.
The nonprofit organization Pure Earth reported that there are 425 sites worldwide contaminated by mercury and 10.9 million people are at risk from these sites. The 10,912,938 people at risk includes 3,720,462 in Africa, 2,605,725 in Southeast Asia, 2,120,456 in the former Soviet Union, 1,426,571 in South America, 501,000 in South Asia, 390,000 in Central America, and 148,700 in East Asia.
If you or someone you know has suffered from mercury poisoning, it is critical to contact a legal professional to help you build a strong case against the careless and negligent individuals responsible for your health problems.