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Mercury is a naturally occurring element (Hg on the periodic table) that is found in air, water and soil. It exists in several forms: elemental or metallic mercury, inorganic mercury compounds, and organic mercury compounds. Elemental or metallic mercury is a shiny, silver-white metal and is liquid at room temperature. If heated, it is a colorless, odorless gas.

Exposures to mercury can affect the human nervous system and harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system. Learn more about the health effects of mercury.

The most common way we are exposed to mercury is by eating fish or shellfish that are contaminated with mercury. Learn more about mercury in fish and shellfish, fish advisories where you live, and about other ways you can be exposed to mercury.



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