The use of mercury in gold mining and gilding (covering something in a thin layer of gold) has a long history of poisoning in the Western world and a continuing legacy of death and disease in developing countries as the global demand for gold increases. What was commonly known as ‘gilder’s palsy’ occurs due to inhalation or unintentional ingestion when the toxic metal comes in contact with a worker’s hands and later mixes with their food or water. See the following historical example of mercury poisoning in Russia, from the Montreal Gazette: About 100 kilos of gold were mixed with…
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