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For the sake of this discussion, consider "acute" poisoning: one takes into one's system a poison whose effects are immediately (or very soon thereafter) observed. By implication, a cumulative poison is one which is taken into the system in such small quantities that its effects are not observed or it is, otherwise, harmless. However, cumulative poisons, e.g., lead and Mercury, have a long excretion half-life - the period of time it takes for the body to eliminate one-half of the poison originally taken in. As a consequence, if one takes in additional cumulative poison before the previous dose was entirely excreted, the effects of the new dose are added to those of the remaining previous dose, or put in another way, the effects are cumulative.

The issue with cumulative poisons is not that they are poisonous, per se, (goodness knows we poison ourselves every day in one way or another), the issue is people who give themselves a regular dose of the cumulative poison until toxic levels are reached. In extreme cases, widespread mercury poisoning, e.g., has occurred in Japan and other Pacific Island communities whose primary diet consisted of contaminated fish.

Lead poisoning, the primary environmental threat to children (due to ingestion of paint containing lead) continues to be a problem in many areas; mercury poisoning is uncommon, if not rare. In the US, extraordinary events aside, mercury poisoning is a consequence of eating contaminated fish. As a result, the CDC, et al., publish various recommendations specifying the types and amounts of fish to eat on a weekly basis. The Alaska Epidemiology Department publishes an extensive "guideline" detailing mercury contamination in a variety of "Alaska" fish with recommendations for the general population, as well as pregnant women, a growing concern. Most conscientious companies are glad to furnish mercury data as it relates to their products, which should be consulted if mercury poisoning is a concern.

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โˆ™ 2012-04-09 22:31:13
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Q: Why are lead and mercury cumulative poisons?
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Related questions

What are the main sources of cumulative poisons?

well there are many cumulative poisons so you need to go one by one. eg. mercury- they are from volcanoes, forest fires, cinnabar (ore) and fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum.

What poisons are there in a computer?

I know for a fact there is Mercury and Lead in the monitors.

What element poisons the brain?

Mercury, lead, and many other heavy metals.

Why did Karl Scheele die?

Cumulative exposure to mercury, lead and their compounds, and other metals caused him to die

Can you hold Mercury in your hand?

Yes. It is a heavy metal and will lead to mercury poisoning over time as it is a cumulative breaks in your poisoning is done if it dosent do inside your body . but if it goes may lead to cancer

What poisons turn the skin black?

Mercury will.

What does mercury and lead chloride make?

mercury + lead chloride --> mercury chloride + lead

What does lead do to soil?

it poisons the plants growing in it

An element that poisons a catalytic converter is what?


What poisons begin with the letter l?

lead compounds

Why should you avoid using paints containing lead and mercury?

Lead and mercury are poisons to the body and will kill you.More DetailOld paint can flake and young children could put it in their mouths.Mercury fumes cause some brain damage. Mercury was used in hat making a long time ago and "hatters" as the hat-makers were called, were crazy, or "mad" as the English call it. Hence the phrase "mad as a hatter" and the character in Alice in Wonderland.Mercury won't kill you, but lead could, if it gets to your blood.

Can you test human ashes for poison?

When cause of death is suspected to be from toxins or poisons, Private Lab Results can test the cremated remains, or ashes, for the five most commonly found toxins or poisons, which are arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury. For more info go

Is there such thign as ink posion?

if the ink contains poisons in it's main composition, such as lead and other poisons, but most poisons in ink have to be consumed in large quantities to be of any effect

Is Mercury heavier then lead?

Yes ..mercury ie heavies then lead

Does lead float or sink in liquid mercury?

Lead floats in mercury.

What should you do if a child consumes mercury from a thermometer?

Contact the poisons centre for your region.

What are some examples of poisons?

Some examples of poisons: sodium cyanide, hydrogen cyanide, mercury, dioxine, strychnine, carbon monoxide, plutonium, etc.

What are the different kinds of poisons in smoke?

lead, carbon monoxide, nicotine

Is mercury more dense than lead?

Mercury is more dense than lead

Does lead float on Mercury?

yes it can because lead is less dense than mercury

How does Mercury kill you?

You can get mercury poisoning, most commonly obtained by eating dolphins (which have higher levels of mercury than some other animals). Which, as the name inplies, poisons you slowly.

How does mercury affect our water?

Mercury doesn't really affect our water, it affects and poisons us and other life in the water. It is a poison that interferes with the brain and nervous system.

If you drop a piece of lead into a pool of mercury will it sink or float?

Lead would float in mercury, as it is slightly less dense. (11.3 g/cc for lead, 13.5 g/cc for mercury)

Does lead float in Mercury?

The density of mercury is roughly 13.5 gm/cc, whereas the density of lead is roughly 11.3 gm/cc. Therefore a piece of lead will float in a puddle of mercury.

How does histamine release lead to inflammation of a wound?

The Led goes and poisons the inflammation and in turn does this.