Neurotoxicity In Chemistry

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Assignment 5 - Neurotoxicity
1. Describe the differences in the physical properties of organic, inorganic and elemental mercury (6 marks)
Elemental mercury is also known as metallic mercury. It is shiny and silver-white in colour. At room temperature, elemental mercury is in a liquid state and some of this liquid mercury will evaporate and form mercury vapor. The vapor itself is colourless and odorless.
Inorganic mercury consists of salt compounds with elements such as chlorine, sulfur, and oxygen. The salt is usually white in appearance and takes the form of powder or crystals. However, mercuric sulfide is red and turns black upon exposure to light.
If mercury combines with carbon, it creates organic mercury. There could be numerous organic
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The ore is then refined in order to get liquid metallic mercury. Sometimes inorganic mercury is used as a fungicide. Other uses would be in skin-lightening creams. In addition, inorganic mercury has been used as a topical antiseptic or disinfecting agent. Previously, it was used in medicinal products which are no longer used today. In some countries, mercury is still used in small amounts as a preservative in medications. Surprisingly, mercury is sometimes used to create red tattoo ink. As well, inorganic mercury was used in latex paints, which may be found in old…show more content…
Describe how someone could be exposed (from environmental and/or occupational sources) to each form of mercury: organic, inorganic and elemental. (9 marks)
Since dentists and dental hygienists perform the fillings for patients, they are at risk of exposure to elemental mercury. Those that work in a waste or recycling plant could also be exposed to elemental mercury. Individuals that work at facilities that manufacture bulbs and lamps containing mercury would be at risk of occupational exposure.
Organic mercury exposure could come from eating seafood in which mercury has bio-accumulated within marine animals such as tuna. This seems to be the main pathway for exposure in humans. If water is contaminated with organic mercury, it could result in exposure if the contaminated water is used as drinking water.
Occupational exposure to organic mercury could occur during the process where mercury is used to fungus-proof material. In addition, workers that use paints and other materials containing mercury would be at risk of exposure. Since there are commercial paints that contain mercury, workers sanding walls, or doing renovations or demolitions of buildings with mercury-containing paint would also be at risk of

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