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Mercury in the environment: Effect on health and reproduction

Mercury is a heavy metal that is found naturally in the environment in various forms. Human activity can release mercury into the air, water, and soil. Mercury is also released into the environment after its conversion tomethylmercury by bacteria. Mercury was once used in medicine, but the medicinal aspect changed because of its devastating poisoning effect on humans and animals. Today, mercury is one of the most potent neurotoxins known, having a number of adverse health effects in animals and humans. As the sources of mercury are many, the general population is exposed to mercury in day-to-day life, in occupational settings, and in cases of accidental exposure. In addition, ignorance about the use of mercury in cosmetics and religious materials has opened an additional source of exposure. Therefore, making people aware of mercury's effects on health, its sources of entry into the environment, and its chelating remedies becomes a necessity so that strategies can be adopted to minimize use and exposure.