Mercury Poisoning By Adam Ware 80Hg Mercury is element 80 on the PT A heavy metal with 80 protons in the nucleus of each atom. Sources of Hg in the Environment Natural contributors are volcanoes Largest contributor, by far, are man-made energy plants. Coal combustion is most caustic. How Hg enters the food chain Methylmercury Most readily bioaccumulated- accumulates within organism faster than it is eliminated. 2-step process from eleental Hg Oxidation into Hg(II) m Methylation into CH3Hg+ Animals most at risk Plants do store some Hg, but most of that nasty CH3Hg is found lurking in bodies of water. Predatory fish and the animals that directly consume them tend to store the highest concentrations. Pregnant Woman should avoid consuming any animal with any significant amount of Hg. Young animals at risk too! Bird and Amphibian embryos seem to be the most affected by high concentrations.