Environmental & Health Concerns

Bad for the Environment
It is important to know that if devices containing mercury are improperly disposed of into the trash, the mercury will find its way into the environment and into the air, eventually reaching Minnesota's bodies of water and resulting in fish consumption advisories. Mercury is harmful to fish, waterfowl, wildlife and people.

Health Concerns
Remember the Mad Hatter in the story of Alice in Wonderland? He was a hat maker. Hat makers used mercury to make hats - and many hat makers suffered from shakiness and insanity. In the 19th century, hatters in Danbury, Connecticut, suffered from a disease that they call the Danbury Shakes. This is a disease caused by mercury, which is a neurotoxin.

Here are some of the health concerns and hazards associated with mercury:
  • Mercury can be absorbed through the lungs, mouth or skin as well as from eating mercury contaminated fish.
  • Mercury affects the brain, spinal cord, kidneys and liver; the nervous system and one's ability to feel, taste and move.
Mercury Presentation
If you would like to learn more about mercury or would like to have a presentation on mercury, please contact the Otter Tail County Solid Waste Department.

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