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Thread Starter 

Help me sort out an issue.


Is ethyl mercury really safer than methyl mercury?  If so, by how much?  What is our proof?


This is from the FDA


"The various mercury guidelines are based on epidemiological and laboratory studies of methyl mercury, whereas thimerosal is a derivative of ethyl mercury. Because they are different chemical entities - ethyl- versus methylmercury - different toxicological profiles are expected. There is, therefore, an uncertainty that arises in applying the methylmercury-based guidelines to thimerosal. Lacking definitive data on the comparative toxicities of ethyl- versus methylmercury, FDA considered ethyl- and methyl-mercury as equivalent in its risk evaluation. "


To me it seems to be saying they do not know much about ethyl mercury.



It does look like ethyl mercury might be excreted faster than methyl mercury - but I am not sure that makes it safer.  Ethyl was excreted in monkeys in 8 days, while methyl took 21 days.


"It took just over eight days to completely clear mercury from thimerosal, while it took 21 days to clear methyl mercury from the blood, they found.
"Brain concentrations of total mercury were significantly lower by about three-fold for the thimerosal-exposed infants when compared to the methyl mercury infants," they wrote.
The researchers said this does not mean thimerosal is harmless and urged more research."


The links above are just to get the ball rolling.  I really have no opinion at this point if methyl is that different from ethyl, and more importantly, if ethyl is safe.  So…what do you think?  Is ethyl that different from methyl?  Do we know at this point?