Mercury, Amalgams, Thimerosal — and Paint


By the time I watched 'Mercury Rising' (below) I knew more than enough about mercury in paint* and the food chain* to have my curiosity kicked into overdrive.

Unfortunately, the more I looked into it — skeptically and rigorously — the more the status quo "safe" narratives fit the mold of textbook groupthink. (Unanimous dismissals of unpopular evidence, dogmatic support for flawed conclusions, peer-pressure, politicized conflicts of interest... aggressively bass-ackward wikipedians [1, 2] etc.)

Accordingly, what was intended as a fairly modest post about mercury in paint,* fish and fields* became this sprawling, slap-dash, point-form polemic  head scratcher.

*For a ton of interesting / compelling (?) info about mercury in paint, and paint's little known role in systemic contamination of the food chain, start with 'On Paint', 'The Crux of the Epidemiology' and 'Regulated Loopholes', halfway down.

<   [2020:] Speaking scratched heads ...  
[invisible keywords: Seipjere, thimerosal controversy, vaccines, autism ]

People only see what they are prepared to see. - Ralph Emerson

Science progresses not because scientists change their minds, but rather because scientists attached to erroneous views die, and are replaced.


'Mercury Rising': An 18 minute film from the makers of the fantastic, oscar-nominated documentary, The Cove. (The Oceanic Preservation Society.) [ © Oceanic Preservation Society, 2009. | Alternate Link ]

PLEASE NOTE: Sadly the red-herring / straw-man (+) of anti-vaccination (++) has thoroughly poisoned perceptions of some thorny scientific discussions. So it's necessary to be very clear:


For a lot more on ‘spoiling our own nest’ with mercury — again, see The Crux and On Paint, halfway down, 

And for more about thimerosal, scroll down.


'Poison In The Mouth' (1994)
© Panorama, BBC, 1994.
[ Alternate (better video quality) duplicate ]

 Note: The missing opening sentences were:

“This is mercury: one of the most toxic substances known to man.*  Most people have metal or, 'amalgam' fillings in their mouth, and half the metal in each filling is made from this stuff.”

*as or more toxic than arsenic, and 10x times more toxic than lead.


[ For some unbiased info about dental amalgams see: Homme, Kern, et al (2014)   |  Mutter: 'A Comprehensive Review' (2005 English translation)  |  Chris Shade, PhD (in Hg)  *†*  |  Barregard (1995)  |  Mutter: 'EU Amalgam Safety' (2011)  etc. | And Mutter et al., 2010. re mercury and dementia. ]

Turns out most dental colleges invested a few generations in what can now – safely and sadly – be described as canonical tobacco science:

Healthy population averages and selective exposure estimates — which 'prove' (because healthy people grossly outnumber unhealthy people) there's almost no problem.”

i.e. Because chronic low-dose mercury poisoning is a marginal / tipping-point phenomenon (*†*that varies widely from person to person – and, most 'safe' amalgam studies force the data into a single curve – the vast majority of ‘safe’ research has inadvertently suppressed or completely removed the sick cohort from the data, discussion and published results: as statistical anomalies. (Outliers.)
See Chris Shade *†*,  Mutter ('05), Barregard ('95), etc. ] 
Similarly, because many amalgam exposure estimates are/were based on urine tests rather than fillings, breath, blood and saliva – results seem ignorant of tissue burdens, other detox pathways (feces and sweat) and, the deterioration of the kidneys in those most affected.
i.e. Since the kidneys are a primary Hg target, urine derived exposure estimates might be, at best, a black box crap-shoot. (Even when/if the single curve analysis is avoided.(?)) 

 Btw: re. 'tobacco science'  “almost no problem” :

Statistically speaking, that's *kind of* true with most chronic poisoning:

i.e. There's always almost no problem” when the vulnerable group is a minority population and that is the sole hypothesis you're hoping to prove.

*†*  TMI Note,  re Chris Shade mobile link: My favorite Dr Shade (IAOMT 2010) link — profiling a population of accidental poisoning victims (stark outliers) won't seem to play on mobile devices. (Only seems to work on my desktop.) So, fyi: all the upper paragraph links (above) have been switched to the previous '09 talk – covering *most* of the same material. 


Dr. Boyd Haley interviewed by "FAIR", 2005. | See also(?) Boyd's presentation at at IAOMT 2010 (here) . . .

< (2020 — again):

CRUCIAL NOTE re. MMR two paragraphs BELOW THE NEXT VIDEO (Olmsted and Blaxill, a little ways down) ...

Also again :  (!!!)  if you haven't already – The Crux of the Epidemiology & On Paint, halfway down.

PS . . .  (!!)  I obviously don't have a clue what Boyd was talking about re ALS and Gulf War...   👔*  ... (Pardon me.)  🕶️

To summarize, of the 58 empirical reports on autism and heavy metal toxins, 43 suggest some link may be present, while 13 reports found no link. Even with the tendency for null results not to be reported, it cannot be said there is no evidence for a link between heavy metal toxins and autism: although the question may still be open-in sum, the evidence favors a link. - 'Sorting Out The Spinning Of Autism', C.M. DeSoto & R.T. Hitlan (2010). [Full pdf]

From a cellular perspective, it would appear that the existing scientific literature supports the biological plausibility of a Hg-based autism pathogenesis. - 'The Plausibility of Mercury in the Etiology of Autism', M. Garrecht & D.W. Austin (2011). [Full html] 

Exposure to mercury can cause immune, sensory, neurological, motor, and behavioral dysfunctions similar to traits defining or associated with autism, and the similarities extend to neuroanatomy, neurotransmitters, and biochemistry. Thimerosal, a preservative added to many vaccines, has become a major source of mercury in children who, within their first two years, may have received a quantity of mercury that exceeds safety guidelines. A review of medical literature and US government data suggests that: (i) many cases of idiopathic autism are induced by early mercury exposure from thimerosal; (ii) this type of autism represents an unrecognized mercurial syndrome; and (iii) genetic and non-genetic factors establish a predisposition whereby thimerosal's adverse effects occur only in some children. - "Autism: A Novel Form of Mercury Poisoning" - S. Bernard, L. Redwood, et al. (2001). [Full pdf, and long version]

re. Thimerosal, Ethyl Hg and Inorganic Hg:
(Hg+/+/2+ -- aka: 'Mercuric-Hg', 'Divalent-Hg', Hg(II), Hg++)
[ note: 0.1μg (micrograms) = 0.0001 mg (milligrams)]

(i)  Based on the 0.1μg/kg /day, EPA infant-methylmercury seafood limit** and, average U.S. vaccine loads (Ball 2001), the average U.S. baby vaccinated between '91 and '01 was over exposed.

The average baseline exposure was 62.5μg or 75μg of ethyl-Hg on each of the 3 or 4 days of the schedule – often beginning on the first day of birth – and 187.5 (baseline average) by 6 months. While the accumulated 6-month ingested methyl-Hg food max for average-sized babies is just 98.5μg.

i.e. 98.5 NET methyl max for the entire 180 days.**

[( 0.1 / kg / day x 182 days : 18.2μg / kg ) multiplied by average baby weights (approximately 3.21 kg at the end of the first week of birth, 7.60 kg at 6 months : 5.41 kg crude daily average) = 98.4μg max.]

** The EPA's 0.1/kg limit was scrutinized by The US National Academy of Sciences in 2000 – by congressional mandate;

Their conclusion: "On the basis of its evaluation, the committee's consensus is that the value of the EPA's current RfD for MeHg, 0.1 μg/kg per day, is a scientifically justifiable level for the protection of public health." -- "Recommendations", page 11 (lower half), exhaustive 300+ page report (here).

(ii) MEANWHILE Burbacher 2005 painstakingly compared ingested methylmercury to vaccine schedule injected thimerosal (in infant primates) and found that thimerosal / injected ethyl-Hg contributes more than twice as much inorganic mercury+ to the brain as a similar amount of ingested methyl-Hg. (Because it rapidly dissociates to ethylmercury in the blood, crosses the blood–brain barrier, and breaks down to Hgquicker than methylmercury.)

Inorganic Hg (1+ / 2+) forms from the breakdown of both ethyl and methyl Hg, and the best research to date (Burbacher 2005 and Vahter 1995) suggests an optimal, healthy-primate detox half-life average of 120 to >550 days for brain-Hg(+ / ++)  compared to just 37 to >57 days for methyl brain-Hg. (i.e. up to 14.9 times longer than methyl alone: upon which most safety assessments are based.)

(iii) Similarly, Magos 1985** compared the effects of high dose ingested ethyl-Hg to methyl-Hg (on rats) and found (a) 3.4 times more brain Hg+ in the ethyl rats, and, (b) that ethyl-Hg (and its higher concentrations of inorganic Hg+) was more kidney toxic and lethal than methyl-Hg.***
(**See note 're. Magos 1985' below)

(iv) similarly, again: there might be sound reasons to suspect inorganic Hg(2+/1+) of a primary role in many common organic Hg poisonings – chronic and acute: Namely, its strong bonding attraction, larger inflammation response, extremely slow detox (!) and, the commonly observed long latency period (delay) between peak organic poisoning and peak symptoms and/or death. (!!?!) 

re. latency periods – and organic poisoning: the gradual breakdown of organic mercury results in a steady build-up of inorganic Hg(2+/1+)  which seems to (?) perfectly coincide with the delayed onset of symptoms and /or death: Long after peak organic Hg exposures have come and gone. 
†  Proposed in Weiss 2002, btw. And expounded at length in Mutter 2010.
  (See the notes **re. Magos and ***Magos–Weiss directly below.)

(v) Incidentally, a significant common thread between inorganic Hg(1+/ 2+) and most widely accepted contributing causes of degenerative brain disease (concussions, poor lifestyles, etc) is EXCESSIVE AND PROLONGED INFLAMMATION.

(! FYI) ... 
. . . . . . . . . .
** re. Magos 1985:  Although much of his/her primary science is quite good, a few of these published conclusions now seam deeply flawed – but, as far as I can tell, formed the bedrock of three decades of confused academic thought re. methyl, ethyl and inorganic Hg toxicity.

To whit — after establishing that ingested ethyl-hg accumulates less initial Hg in the brain than methyl-hg (because it breaks down more rapidly to inorganic hg, and concentrates in / on the kidneys), s/he [prematurely] concluded: 'Ethylmercury and inorganic mercury are less harmful to the brain than methylmercury.' And that (unfounded – possibly bass-ackwards) opinion is, to this day, widely cited and reported as fact.

Then once the vaccine / thimerosal storm hit ('02-ish) s/he [erroneously] testified to the U.S. Institute of Medicine that injected ethylmercury (thimerosal in the blood stream) is ‘less harmful to the brain than methymercury.ʼ Despite there being no sound research on the subject (injected ethyl vs ingested methy) until Burbacher '05.

To give you a crude analogy: It's a little like comparing a small group of random gunshot victims to a small group of car accident victims and — whenever NONE of the gunshots actually hit the head — testifying to a panel on gun-brain injury that ‘gunshot wounds are significantly less harmful to the brain than car accidents.’

***    re. Magos-Weiss:
Had Magos not established this belief (inorganic mercury is "less harmful") it's not unreasonable to expect Weiss (2002) would've gravitated more strongly towards inorganic Hg build-up as the plausible, delayed-Hg smoking gun.

(??  It's kind of a no brainer:

Mercury is bad. So charged divalent-mercury free-radical precursors — with their much slower detox, strong bonding attraction, large inflammation response, and lower dose mortality — are, one would think, significantly worse.) 

. . .
For more on methyl-hg exposures and Hg blood levels see '5' and '9' approximately 4/5ths down this page, 
And, again – Burbacher '6' for more about thimerosal vs ingested methyl-hg.
. . .

Dan Olmsted & Mark Blaxill discuss their book, The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-Made Epidemic (2010)   [  SafeMinds.org ]

(1) the epidemiological argument of continued increase after “thimerosal was removed” is, iyam, generally beside the much larger point:
the overall net trend in heavy-metals (including mercury**) in food and soil** —from industrial and commercial pollution — biomagnifying its way up the food chain.**
(Hundreds of millions of tons of mercury, cadmium, lead, and you-name-it laced sewage-sludge fertilizer**, and garden soil** 
... atmospheric pollution, coal-fired power, compact fluorescent bulbs, garbage and sludge incineration ... ) ? 

?  Not to mention the unanswerable questions re. expanding awareness and diagnosis of the moderate end of the previously unrecognized spectrum.

[** Again, The Crux -- halfway down,        
9 (etc) – on atmospheric, industrial pollution. ]

PS (2 / FYI) -  I obviously don't have any idea at all what Dan*× was alluding to re Down syndrome. 
(Again – humble apologies.

*×  and ... rest in peace.

IMPORTANT NOTE, Re MMR: Because plenty of anti-vaccine discussion focused MMR vaccine inflammation /encephalitis risk – and it's now clear the virus can re-emerge at the drop of a hat (in under-immunized populations) – it's important to note:
And   •  the vaccine protects as much as 90+% from exposure – and ONLY WHEN IMMUNIZATION RATES ARE EXTREMELY HIGH (AROUND 92%!?) ARE THE MOST VULNERABLE AMONG US PROTECTED. 
(Newborns, cancer patients, etc.) 
For more on measles:  

D. Ayoub: TROJAN HORSE Google Bomb – at NorthWestern University, 2006.

1)  UNFORTUNATELY truck-loads of moronic nut-job horse manure (at Ayoub's next and last credible public Hg-speaking invitation) destroyed his credibility.
[see the footnote at the bottom of this section: 'Ayoub: trojan horse']

HOWEVER (a) entirely on account of the published work of others, he nonetheless does a presentable job here of picking apart the shoddy case of the '06 groupthink gang.

While (b) the nut-job google bomb stuff (next time out) was – perhaps not surprisingly – his most conspicuously Ayoubian* material.

Similarly enough, (2)  turns out The Danish study was arranged and co-authored by a Danish CDC contractor / employee now wanted by the FBI for fraud and embezzlement of CDC autism research funds.

Meanwhile,  (3)  since predatory fish should generally be a fantastic source of essential omega 3 fatty acids but — mercury can't be broken down (it just accumulates, and accumulates, and accumulates) it's a bit ridiculous (BS) to suggest industrial emissions are “one of the safest forms of mercury” *** — iyam. 

Incidentally, (4) it was/ is (?) a favourite subject of industry-funded apologists ("researchers" and lobbyists) to argue — because large volcanic eruptions also produce high atmospheric Hg levels (in addition to man-made Hg) — wide-spread environmental Hg pollution is "completely natural"; as in, “not harmful.”  ***   (🐂) 

Moreover — just fyi — turns out that was essentially the exact same argument used to sow confusion and doubt about the harmful effects of (cheap, profitable, horsepower boosting) ethyl-leaded gas *** [+ cheap and durable lead paint, pipes and solder)] during the long era of unrestricted commercial lead.

*** Btw / TMI  ... that eerily similar story (DECADES OF DENIAL before the scientific community began to accept lead's chronic toxicity) — Claire Patterson and company versus commercial lead — is profiled nicely (in idealized broad strokes) in the 7th episode of the Seth McFarlane, 2014 'Cosmos Spacetime' reboot.
[ Google Link ] ... (Again ... mercury's significantly less toxic but more widely prohibited elemental cousin.)

Lastly (5)  I was told Dr Julie Morita's rebuttal wasn't filmed.  ‡  (And Ayoub claimed she "chose to change the subject.”)  Presumably she focused on the general importance of vaccination ± the MMR–Wakefield red herrings.

 ‡  If I ever get good info ... I'll post / link it here.

. . . 
An acute lack of discretion REALLY got the better of him.

The next time he was invited to speak he launched into a foolish nut-job conspiracy (seemingly out of nowhere —*BUT* DILIGENTLY RECORDED, UPLOADED, AND WIDELY SHARED: The PR sabotage equivalent of detonating a 5-megaton suicide google bomb — after courting trust and allegiance with a sympathetic, fledgling '06 grassroots.

Whatever his intentions, morals, MOTIVATION and or sanity, I suspect the worst of Bill Cosby's PR people would've struggled to craft as effective a method of undermining said grassroots.

[                               🤔       


    💰!!      🕴️♟️🇷🇺♟️🕴️     💰 !!! 

OPERATION INFEKTION : 'How Russia Perfected the Art of War'  :

Fantastic 43-minute New York Times documentary — ©2018. YouTube link.)
           ̸̶̸̷̸̶̸?̸̶̸̷̸̶̸̸̸̶̸̷̸̶̸̷̸̶̸̷̸̶̸̸̸̶̸̷̸̶̸        ✔️   ✔️   ✔️      ̸̶̸̷̸̶̸?̸̶̸̷̸̶̸̸̸̶̸̷̸̶̸̷̸̶̸̷̸̶̸̸̸̶̸̷̸̶̸  


Turns out the most questionable parts of the Kremlin /FSB/SVR/GRU – with TROLL ARMIES GALORE (💰+💰👨‍💻🕴️) – have been doing *EXACTLY* this sort of asinine horsesh_t for a very *VERY* long time.

< Speaking of which...  
(... in case you missed it):LEGIT CRAZY*, 2020 UPDATE  >

Dr. Mark Geier and his son David (interviewed by 'FAIR' — 2005)

Btw:  (1)  Mark began as a staunch skeptic and public critic of Boyd Haley.

And  (2)  perhaps not surprisingly, (the Geiers) have been shamelessly smeared and attacked for their research, advocacy, testimony and early earnest attempts at treatment of regressive autism (?) via a combined testosterone-inhibition and chelation protocol.





4. On Paint

(i) Phenylmercuric acetate (PMA) and phenylmercuric nitrate (PMN) are/were the two best known mercurial paint preservatives.

Mercurial preservatives were the industry gold-standard for many decades on account of their superior antibacterial and anti-mold finished-product performance, and, ability to dramatically extend the shelf life of spoil-prone products. (e.g. Low v.o.c., organic, and water-based.)

Last time I checked, the U.S. EPA's daily recommended safe allowance for PMA (the more studied of the two) was just 0.07μg/kg/day IN ADULTS,  (i.e. 30% lower  / seemingly more toxic than even the INFANT methyl max.)

And, exactly what came of the supposed North American phase out of “all mercury from all paint” is, if you asked me — not even close to what most would have you believe.

Continued in Regulated Loopholes (ii), Data on Mercury in Paint (iii), and Off the Charts (iv), a little ways down.

Crux of the Epidemiology
(to Date)

Bio-Solids Fertilizer, Water-Based Paint, and the Massively Under-Reported Escalation in Heavy-Metal–Food Exposures:

The clamp-down on water pollution via sewage treatment plants (and industrial shift to all things water-based) inadvertently led to unprecedented use of trace heavy-metal contaminated bio-solids fertilizer and bulk commercial garden soil over the last 20-odd years.  

We concentrated an enormous amount of toxic pollution (and a large portion of paint waste) into sewage sludge, and we hawked that sludge onto farmers (and soil makers*) as perfectly good fertilizer year after year.

And although there's generally significant testing (at sewage plants, for acute levels), generally speaking the old tongue-in-cheek expression's still sad but true: ‘The solution to pollution is [still largely] dilution.’ Only now, instead of diluting with rivers, lakes and oceans we've been diluting with (crap) — and spreading it on fertile land.

i.e. The last time I checked (personally – back in '01-'02) more than 99% of all solid waste locally — mercury, arsenic, cadmium and you-name-it — was testing ‘low enough’ to be shipped, diluted in sludge, straight into the food chain.
Again: see the links 9 paragraphs down, and the EPA's comprehensive 2009 sludge/fertilizer survey results here.

As it turns out, we were so concerned with cleaning sewage and heavy-metals (PCBs, phthylates, etc) from our rivers, we decided — ... — it made more sense to consider it 100% safe (diluted enough) to use (most of it) ... 

(i.e.)   Shifted trace pollution away from our waterways and into our fields, soils, and commercial food chain ... and this year-over-year accumulation — coupled with said large increase in novel, easy clean-up water-based chemical products — steadily ramped-up all over the continent, during the same over-arching epidemiological timeline as the autism epidemic. 

See Regulated Loopholes (6 odd paragraphs down) to learn how mercury in paint ties back into this picture.

(Everything from commercial car paints to industrial stains, varnishes and epoxies became increasingly water-based, and likewise destined to contribute significantly to the problem.)
. . . 
Of course, many of these changes represent a HUGE step in the right direction. (Enormous progress cleaning our water-ways, dramatically cutting smog from the air, cheap and fertile lawns, sod, landscape soils and fertilizers.)
BUT for our commercial food chain (to date) it's been a complicated win–loose situation at best.

A mixed bag brimming with nutrients — BUT laced, indiscriminately with toxins.**

[ Again, (OPTION 1) ]

For more on this under-reported phenomenon see:

*An extremely large amount of commercial black garden soil, top-soil and bulk garden fertilizer now derives its deep colour, rich organic content, and cheap manufacturing cost directly from millions of tons of mostly urban (you-name-it) highly questionable sludge solids.

 [ ... '1' . ]

When it comes to waste products like mercury, cadmium, phthalates, etc., the conventional solution (to date — from Waterloo to Kalamazoo) is dewatering, testing to preclude the possibility of acute poisoning** (i.e. ‘there's almost no problem), re-brand and ship...]

. . .

** The U.S. EPA's comprehensive 2009 sludge/fertilizer survey states: (1) the “safe” -- allowable -- U.S. sludge fertilizer mercury level: 57,000 μg/kg*;
[ 57mg (milligrams) = 57,000μg (micrograms) ]

(2) That 60% of U.S. sludge was used as fertilizer;

And (3), the sample results for mercury: high - 8300μg/kg; low - 170μg/kg;
**    Lead:       high - 450,000μg/kg;  low - 5810μg/kg;
**   Arsenic:    high - 49,200μg/kg;  low - 1180μg/kg;
** Cadmium:  high - 11,800μg/kg;  low - 210μg/kg.

And remember: the accepted (EPA) methyl-Hg food guideline for infants is 0.1μg/kg/day;

and, mercury tends to bioaccumulate (concentrate) as it goes up the food chain.
food chain

Hence very dilute sea water levels produce average (2011) tuna–mercury levels of 427μg/kg (white) to 71μg/kg (light)... And, hence the Minamata researchers stopped eating their beloved sushi.

*Btw: Technically 57,000μg/kg is the 'class B' (partially restricted) US fertilizer limit. (The unrestricted 'Class A' Hg limit is 17,000μg/kg),

BUT, leaving aside the obvious ENORMOUS question of
17,000μg/kg as itself a ridiculously HUGE theoretically "safe" number; from what I've seen the practical implications of the distinction (class A or B) -- if any (in practice) -- is ITSELF an open question.

(Class B fertilizer was/is only restricted when net soil levels [for hg, pb, cd...] exceed the maximum soil concentration safety ceilings, an it's entirely unclear where, when, how often or by whom any of these 'class a' safety ceilings are/were actually enforced:

Remember, for a good 25+ years (this same timeline) “deregulate — and let the private sector handle it” became practically the first ill-advised commandment of US economic policy. (Funding competent scientists to go around the countryside testing and enforcing soil/fertilizer regs was exactly the sort of thing to be widely, foolishly regarded as economic sacrilege.)

  [ 'OPTION 1' ]

(ii) Regulated Loopholes:

[ For the U.S. equivalent / original loophole, scroll down 7 paragraphs.]

The first Canadian paint mercury legislation was finalized after an extensive 3-year consultation with industry, and passed in December 2000.

Crucially, it excluded all “recycled surface coating materials” without providing any explicit definition of what constituted said material: thus normalizing a seemingly small loophole for the Canadian market. (More on that in a minute.)

Similarly, the text of the current (2005) legislation [ beginning on page 118 / 889 of this pdf archive] deals extensively with “recycled coating materials” (the loophole), sets the current legal limit for ALL paints “imported, manufactured and soldat 10,000 μg/dry kg (10 mg/kg), and also fails to offer specifics, details, definitions or explanations whatsoever on what did or didn't qualify as “recycled.”

MEANWHILE ... a very knowledgeable, industry insider friend of mine (with a long-held senior technical position at an international paint market leader) told me explicitly — to my surprise — in '05-ish: “most of [their] conventional paints [were] technically recycled.

He explained to me that (a) the rinse-water used to clean the lines (my subject of inquiry) was regularly recycled back into production. That (b) this had been the case for quite some time (since the supposed 'voluntary phase-out' of the 90s). And (c), because of this — again: “most of [their] conventional paints [were] technically recycled.” (His emphasis on technically: i.e. technically true, but a bit of a stretch.)

MOREOVER — and to the point: In early 2007ish a second knowledgeable, technical insider (at the same firm) told me explicitly: they “still add[ed] as much mercury as [they]'re permitted to add” to the majority of their paints. ‘Including their premium interior lines.’

re the current 2005 legislation: There's was no stipulation for liquid content, off-gassing, or documentation. And warning labels were only stipulated for lead and “recycled products” that exceed 10,000 μg limit, after '05.

[Again, the full text of the '05 Canadian legislation: pages 118-133 / 889-901 of this pdf archive.]

. . . . .

BTW:  If you're curious about the American equivalent (and origin) of the Canadian “recycled” paint-hg stepping stone, take a critical look at the U.S. EPA's congressionally-mandated “Resource Conservation and Recovery Act” ('RCRA') 1985 to present. (E.g.)

It was specifically designed to encourage the beneficial use, reuse and recycling of toxic materials” – like and including mercury – by targeted exemption from environmental regulation. (E.g. 1, 2, 3...) ?? 

And — once you dig into some of its meandering and byzantine text(again, e.g.) ??? it's not hard to see how it plus NAFTA (plus/minus the 'best' government money can buy) ended up spawning “technically recycled” Canadian paint.

. . . . .
Remember there was (and is) plenty of U.S. industrial mercury waste in need of an RCRA compliant (regulation exempt) “beneficial” end use.
e.g. Used chlor-alkali catalyst (one of the larger traditional sources of concentrated mercury waste — from tens of $billions worth of vinyl and pvc siding, pipe, trim, windows and doors), coal combustion emission scrubbers (the largest source of recovered mercury waste: when / if the scrubbers are maintained), gold smelting / precious metals ... 
Not to mention compact fluorescent light bulb recycling. (Our most recent Hg waste behemoth.)

Btw / FYI — some of the RCRA's legislation actually allows/allowed toxic waste to be recycled” via zinc fertilizers and run-of-the-mill bio-solids sludge straight into the food chain( ... “The solution to high Hg pollution is supplemental zinc.” ) 

i.e.  So recycling Hg in paint — at a lower level than is permitted in fertilizer — not to mention teeth — actually looked relatively responsible.

[ See Paint Geek 'B' about 12 paragraphs down for more reasons why spoil prone water-based paints were a relatively 'good' match for regulation-exempt recycled U.S. mercury.]

. . . . .

(iii) Two Sets of Data on Mercury in Paint:

The first is a survey of the Hg content of so-called Canadian recycled consumer paints in 96/97, published (without any details whatsoever) within the current ('05) Canadian regulations: (originally in milligrams)
Interior water & oil-based products: 45,000 - 120,000 μg/kg [i.e. 45-120mg/kg]
Exterior water & oil-based products: 250,000 - 700,000 μg/kg
Maximum amount: 4,000,000 μg/kg  
[ page 897 / 129 of this pdf archive ]
The second study was part of Hurricane Katrina relief and it's much more thorough and detailed: It includes random New Orleans paint samples which further substantiate the grounds for concern: 'median Hg: 14,700 μg/kg; max: 214,000 μg/kg' (a note on the lower levels in a second.) ... referencing some much earlier work*, establishes a 40+ year window of significant use:
During the era of unrestricted Hg additives in paint, the annual amounts were large. For example, in 1971 Hg in paint accounted for 16.4% of the US total consumption of mercury, or 297 metric tons.” (*MacGregor 1975)

Of course, random paint chips from New Orleans may or may not reflect Southern Ontarian paint chips. But what's clear — particularly to anyone sanding a lot of old paint — is 14,700, 214,000 and 4,000,000 are all WAY too far above 0.07 (the safety max) for comfort.

(iv) Moreover / Off the Charts:  The last time I came across it ('02 or '03) stand alone, concentrated, aftermarket mould-proofing mercury paint additive was cheap, odourless, colourless, relatively easy to get (up from the States — in litres and gallons), and regarded by paint geeks and industry insiders alike as the best bang for buck mold protection / antibacterial peace of mind money could buy.

(It was a popular precaution for some industry insiders: a way to hedge your bets against the supposed new 'low/no mercury' regulations — and not-widely-vetted water-based product lines.)

Paint Geek Digression (A) : Paint mold growth has been a long running problem for builders, contractors and paint / stain manufacturers because, (1) oil-based resins (the old gold standard) are commonly derived from plant oils which — being organic and biodegradable — surface mold was frequently able to feed upon on damp, finished surfaces; (2) Until recently no pro painter was worth his or her salt if s/he wasn't schooled in oil-based and, familiar with the propensity for paint films to feed mold; And (3) the conventional old-school wisdom (re. mold feeding on damp, organic resin films) carried over well into the current era of waterborne and full synthetics (+ building booms) on account of the widely held assumption/fear that water-based latex resin would be more prone to mold and mildew than oil predecessors.

[ More on water vs oil in Paint Geek B, below.] 

So if you were a cautious contractor with your ear to the ground and you believed the American Dental Association's claims ('mercury is totally safe') you may well have bought this stuff — concentrated, water-based mercury additive — by the case.

[ Tmi: I didn't.
  But – came really close. ] 

Speaking of tmi ... 
(v) Gardeners FYI: If your lot had wood siding, trim, fascia, windows, sheds or fences for any significant time in the past, you might want to play it safe and give your vegetable garden safer soil.***
(Plants readily absorb lead, mercury and cadmium, and most aged surfaces have dropped WAY too much pulverized chips and dust into the ground for everywhere to be totally food grade.)
i.e. Sadly, it's safe to assume many heirloom urban soils are, at the very least, highly suspect.
[  continued below  ]

For a lot more on urban garden soils see:

Still, you may want to be a touch fussy about the replacement soil (and fertilizer) you choose; because again, many of the most commercially competitive and widely distributed bulk soils and fertilizers are derived directly from concentrated urban sludge.
[  ps:  ...  If you have already been growing in mystery replacement soil see Gorospe 2012 for a little crap-shoot reassurance: Average 2012 raised-bed-grown San Fransiscan heavy-metal produce levels were — perhaps not surprisingly — significantly lower than historic, ground soil comparisons. ]

[ ... 'OPTION 1'. ]

Paint Geek (B): Although synthetic waterborne resins are generally less prone to mould and mildew when applied and cured (compared to many traditional, organic oil resins) the situation couldn't be more reversed when each is in its liquid, in-the-can state.
(i.e.) Waterborne paints are generally much harder to preserve on the shelf than their traditional oil kin, and require significantly more toxic anti-bacterial preservatives like mercury to prevent premature spoilage (dramatically shortened shelf-life.)
Stagnant water is a near perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Whereas turpentine, mineral spirits and alcohol (traditional solvents) are generally uninhabitable in their own right.

(Hence the likely cause for the old New Orleans oil numbers being lower than the 96/97 more water-based "recycled" Canadian numbers. ? ... )]

Bottom line: Large swaths of the paint industry had a huge incentive to lobby for, carve-out and maintain their tried-and-true — durable and cheap — mercurial preservatives of choice:

Skyrocketing waterbased demand was turning the industry upside-down, and the risks of failure — from new formulas and escalating R & D + production costs — were already nerve-racking enough.


Meanwhile (a) to give you a sense of the scale of heavy metal usage in pigments (and paint) — according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) U.S. domestic use of cadmium pigment (vibrant yellow, orange and red) averaged 137.5 metric tons per year, '01 through '07*; accounting for 10.69% of total U.S. Cd usage. (10.69% of 9006 total metric tons, '01-'07*.)
(*note: the USGS stopped reporting the Cd pigment percentages in '08.)

(b)  According to Wikipedia, we're currently using >20,000 metric tons of cadmium annually (worldwide), with around 2000 tons of pigment.[1]

And moreover (just fyi  –  c) we're also said to be using 4.6 million tons of titanium-dioxide annually (world wide); predominantly as white pigment.[2]  (And despite titanium-dioxide being an astronomical quantum-leap in the right direction compared to its white-Pb lead predecessor – it's still not something I personally entirely want fertilizing my groceries.)

. .

5. On Methylmercury Exposures

From the U.S. EPA's 'Mercury and Human Health' page :

In the EPA’s Mercury Study Report to Congress (1997), EPA estimated that 7% of women of childbearing age would have blood mercury concentrations greater than those equivalent to the RfD. The estimate of 7% of women of childbearing age above the RfD was based on patterns of fish and shellfish consumption and methylmercury concentrations present in fish and shellfish. Blood mercury analyses in the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1999-2000 NHANES) for 16-to-49 year old women showed that approximately 8% of women in the survey had blood mercury concentrations greater than 5.8 ug/L (which is a blood mercury level equivalent to the current RfD). Based on this prevalence for the overall U.S. population of women of reproductive age and the number of U.S. births each year, it is estimated that more than 300,000 newborns each year may have increased risk of learning disabilities associated with in utero exposure to methylmercury. More recent data from the CDC support this general finding.

. . .

6.  Here's a talk by Dr Burbacher (the mercury+primates research pioneer) where he very tentatively describes his professional experience with mercury and thimerosal — and how politically skewed (misconstrued) reporting and perception has generally been.

Btw: (If you haven't already) see thimerosal ('3') for a lot more about thimerosal.

(And '7' — below — for more about thimerosal politics and pull.)

. . .

7.  FYI:  (i)

[ Scroll down for *TWO* CRUCIAL UPDATES. ]

. . . When George HW Bush
was vice president (right after he spent two years on Eli Lilly's board of directors) the U.S. 'vaccine court' was established to protect vaccine manufacturers from U.S. lawsuits. (Lilly is the inventor and longtime licensor of thimerosal.)

Payments were initially limited to $250k per victim, and class action suits were federally outlawed.

After trying a small number of early autism test cases (...) a backlog of approximately 5200 families were denied their ordinary (constitutional) rights to due process.

Similarly, in 2011 the too conservative (deferential, politicized, & / or stuck in the mud) U.S. supreme court* upheld the law 6-2: albeit with a strong, categorical dissent by Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg.

(See *Bruesewitz* v. Wyeth; SCOTUS, 2011 –  Decent: *page 30* of the court PDF.)

ps¹ : Also, in '02 / '03 a rider clause further outlawing all thimerosal-specific lawsuits was added to the US Homeland Security bill.*

Long-time Republican congressman Dan Burton — whose grandson regressed into autism, and whose district contained Eli Lilly's head office — publicly described it as a deal he personally struck with the then Presidents of "Lilly, Merck, and other leading vaccine makers" : in exchange for the voluntary removal of thimerosal from childhood vaccines, and their funding of the Vaccine Compensation Trust Fund. (Which pays vaccine court claims and expenses via an industry-wide levy.)

Lastly / TMI² : another well-connected Indiana Republican, Mitch Daniels, was the Chief Executive of the US Office of Budget and Management when the Hg + crap was hitting the fan. ('01 to '03.) He was appointed by George W from his previous positions: Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Policy, Lilly ('97 to '01), and President of North American Operations (Lilly) '93 to '97.  And technically he had wide ranging authority over US federal programs '01 to '03. (Again, at the peak of the thimerosal-safety crap storm.)

(Important: See the crucial updates directly below.

And, TMI³: that Homeland Security clause was stripped out a year later – just fyi.)


(ii)  [ CRUCIAL ] 2020 UPDATE *¹*



'OPERATION INFEKTION' : 'How Russia Perfected the Art of War'

( ... fantastic 43-minute New York Times documentary – © 2019. YouTube link.)

Turns out the Russians (questionable parts of the FSB — WITH TROLL ARMIES GALORE) have been on this thing like white on ice for a very, VERY long time.

So ... sincere apologies more than likely owed for falling for it (more than / half of it) hook, line and sinker. ( 🤬 . . . )

Nearly  /  helping perpetuate some really asinine bullshit.

. . .   . . .   . . .   😔   . . .   . . .  

( STAY TUNED.  ⚖️ )

. . .   . . .   . . .   . . .   . . .   . . .


Again :   LEGIT CRAZY*, 2020 UPDATE.🛡️ >

. . .   . . .    . . .    . . .    . . .    . . .    . . .    . . . 

8)  Here's a recent Globe and Mail article describing the massive problem of compact florescent light bulb recycling. (The average compact fluorescent bulb contains 3000 to 5000μg: 3 to 5 mg.)

9)  Here's some good reporting on atmospheric mercury pollution,  man-made / industrial hg–ocean increase,  and how atmospheric Hg is converted into methylmercury in the food chain.

10)  And here's a good link on common household mercury switches.

11)  For some great presentations on mercury detox and health check out Dr Russell Jaffe on ascorbate vitamin c ..., again Chris (Dr Mercury) Shade, etc. etc. (Thankfully, there are now plenty

[ 2020 Exhibit A : Dr Gregor 🏆 🐐 Nutritionfacts.org (podcast + YouTube.)

(12)  Dietary / lifestyle approaches that I've used to detox from LARGE amounts of toxic paint exposure:

Take with an appropriately HUGE silo of salt. 
i.e. Let most of this in one ear AND OUT THE OTHER.
- lean protein (for glutathione production and all around goodness.) ex, beans, lintels, peas, chickpeas, egg whites, nuts and seeds...
- onions, garlic, broccoli, brussell sprouts, Omega 3 eggs and similar sulphur rich foods – moderately*– also to boost glutathione levels and all around goodness. 
[ moderate*: beware the gaseous consequences of being too joyfully extra-sulphurated, fyi. ] 
- high quality chlorella (the natural heavy metal intestinal vacuum) — to unload the lower-half of the detox pathway and usher heavy metals out of the gut and intestines. (Otherwise Hg tends to destroy healthy gut flora and get recycled and redistributed by the front-end of the detox / mineral-transport system.) . . . A LA (Again) CHRIS DR MERCURY SHADE'S detailed 1-hr presentation and pitch. (Chlorella does basically the same thing as his novel silica product, FYI.)
- fresh (pure, tasty & refrigerated) high quality fish oil [ e.g. 'Summit Supplements Bio-Omega 3.'  (In extreme moderation. ‡* ) 
Massively reduced omega 6 to omega 3 ratio much lower 6 and a modestly higher 3 than the conventional 's.a.d.' diet. And / BUT sadly almost no high-order predatory fish. (Almost always opting for fish oil, flax seed, and or cooking with anchovies and or sardines instead.) 
- Anti-inflammatory diet : again extremely low o-6 (with modest supplemental o-3) – Avoidance of ALL GARBAGE FATS (cheap OILS, fillers, modifieds, and hydrogenateds) . . . BAR NONE. 


TMI UPDATE:   ‡*   To my surprise ... I'm now mostly a vegan (for heart and cardio health) And — again, a huge believer in Dr Gregor's all-around goodness :  🏆🐐  Nutritionfacts.org (podcast and YouTube). He has great content on almost everything. (Especially dietary approaches and peer reviewed brass tax for all sorts of stuff.) 


- Quality Vitamin C preferably ph / mineral balanced natural form ascorbate (where the vitamin acid is bound to various healthy minerals) a la Russell Jaffe**, sweet potatoes, oranges and bell peppers . . .   And good old cheap ascorbic acid – regularly, in moderation. and in tandem with a modest pinch of minerals for balance. (ex. Magnesium and zinc.)  . . . Vitamin C is extremely well suited for binding and eliminating inorganic lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium throughout the body.
Cilantro (the natural chelator)  cooked with (in very small quantities, and very modestly and moderately) to load-up the lower detox pathway (gut and intestines) : where chlorella (...) escorts it out of the body. 
- All 8 E vitamins (preferably . . .  when on sale.) . . . NOT the the dime-a-dozen single form d-tocopherol (which some research suggested is harmful.) [ Haven't heard anything bad about the basic mixed tocopherol (alpha, beta, delta and gamma) – in moderation . . .
- selenium; moderately — from high quality selenomithionine / yeast derived supplements (in small quantities.)
- And last but not least: regular safe sauna use. (When hydrated and healthy – i.e. No chest pain, discomfort, or light headedness.) Just get good sweat going (which helps expel heavy metals), shower, and re-hydrate.

Again  ...  the best historical example I've seen of a similarly complex, polarized public health debate (that also took many decades to build scientific consensus) is the eerily similar story of Claire Patterson and company versus unbridled commercial lead.

... again, profiled nicely (in idealized broad strokes) in the 7th episode of the Seth-McFarlane-produced 2014 'Cosmos Spacetime' reboot.

[ Google Episode Link ]

Margaret Heffernan:

Whistle blowers are often regular people, fiercely loyal, and deeply concerned about protecting the very organizations about which they disclose.


Thanks for your interest...


And  <...🛡️...>  ... 
... stay tuned.    ←    ←  


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. CORRECTIONS: (1) At some point – when the scale of this really began to dawn – minor details and distractions took the backseat to the bigger picture.

    Regrettably (on account) I had errors in the valance of Ethyl and Methyl derived cations (Hg¹+ and Hg²+ respectively) UNCORRECTED *FOR YEARS.*

    Also – similarly (2) – because of piss poor skill as a writer (when I began) – and again, the enormity of the political and diplomatic challenge – by the time PMA's exposure limit of just 0.07 μg (*IN ADULTS*) really settled in, my mind moved way on from the nitty gritty of (PMA and PMN) relative toxicology.

    BUT because I was basically hashing *everything* out real-time (while, again, STRUGGLING TO WRITE EVEN HALF-ASSEDLY) – with the scope of the challenge beginning to dwarf everything – at some point (likely sleep deprived and half miserable) I [also] foolishly removed the question mark from “PMA and PMN break down to (inorganic-Hg²+)?” before I had sound answers to any of that. (Let alone PMA and PMN in the food chain[?] or, the minds of those most susceptible.)

    Basically by the time I realized the enormity of the challenge, the lingering biochem began to pale pretty dramatically – versus, “HOW THE EFF AM I GOING TO RESOLVE THIS???”

    And 'job one' was trying to craft (hodge-podge into) something reasonably presentable: Learning to write and edit:

    Double-back and correct later.


    Bottom Line:


    . . . . . . . . .

    And please

    (drop me a line any time,
    leave a comment,
    and or, again – )

    STAY TUNED . 👔💘 👍🏻👍🏻

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. UPDATE LINK: (For anyone who missed it up at the top... And / until I get get around to a proper desktop–laptop update.)