Mercury is a naturally occurring metallic element that can be harmful to the nervous system if high quantities of elemental vapor are breathed, or if high quantities of methylmercury (a type of organic mercury) are ingested. Since elemental mercury is no longer used to make to make household thermometers, the more common exposure these days is methylmercury contamination of food products. Seafood contains methylmercury; however, the health benefits of seafood tend to outweigh the potential risk from mercury.
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