December 2011

Volume 16, Issue 4

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Environmental Medicine - A Review of the Use of Mercury in Historic and Current Ritualistic and Spiritual Practices by L. Charles Masur, MD

Abstract

Mercury (Hg) occurs naturally in the environment and has been used in numerous medicinal, commercial, and industrial applications over many centuries. Also, it has played significant historical, as well as current, ethno-medical and magico-religious roles in a number of different cultures. In recent times, awareness has emerged that exposure to mercury can have serious adverse health consequences. Accompanying this, contamination of the environment by mercury is causing public health and environmental concerns. As a result, major efforts are being undertaken by industry, private organizations, and government agencies to reduce or eliminate the use of and exposure to this toxic element. However, in spite of extensive educational and socio-cultural interventions, the use of mercury in ritualistic and spiritual practices is a continuing cause for concern. (Altern Med Rev 2011:16(4):314-320)

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