Methylmercury's toxic toll

By Janet Raloff, 15:47 PM April 15, 2008

More than 60,000 children are born each year in the United States with neurodevelopmental impairments caused by exposure in the womb to methylmercury compounds, according to new estimates by an expert panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences. The panel released its 290-page review of methylmercury's toxicity earlier this month.

Many industrial processes, especially fossil-fuel burning, spew inorganic mercury into the air. Once it rains down, the pollutant usually undergoes a chemica...

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