PSY FPX 6010 Assessment 2 Mercury as a Teratogen
Phillip April 20, 2024 No Comments

PSY FPX 6010 Assessment 2 Mercury as a Teratogen

PSY FPX 6010 Assessment 2 Mercury as a Teratogen


Capella university

PSY FPX 6010 Human Prenatal Development

Prof. Name



This white paper addresses the various avenues through which mercury exposure can occur and the consequential adverse impacts it can have on fetal development. It emphasizes the prevalence of methylmercury in fish and suggests strategies to include fish in diets with reduced risk. Additionally, it examines the developmental hazards associated with mercury as a teratogen, including cognitive impairments, visual and auditory deficits. Furthermore, the paper explores the financial burdens of accommodating developmental abnormalities and offers suggestions for minimizing methylmercury exposure.

Mercury as a Teratogen

During pregnancy, numerous factors influence both maternal and fetal health, with teratogens being significant contributors to prenatal damage. Mercury emerges as a potent teratogen, with approximately 1 in 6 women exhibiting elevated mercury levels, posing risks to fetal development. Sources of mercury exposure vary, including air pollution from industrial processes and consumption of contaminated fish. The ingestion of methylmercury, prevalent in fish, poses a significant threat to fetal development due to its high absorption rate.

Developmental Risks of Mercury

Exposure to mercury, particularly methylmercury, during gestation can adversely affect fetal brain development, leading to impairments in sensory and cognitive functions. The critical period for vulnerability to methylmercury is the first trimester, coinciding with the formation of essential neural structures such as the visual and auditory systems. Methylmercury disrupts neurotransmitter activity, inhibits neuronal growth, and interferes with cell migration, resulting in structural abnormalities and reduced brain mass.

Implications of Exposure to Mercury

Children exposed to methylmercury are at risk of various developmental disorders, including mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and sensory impairments. These conditions necessitate extensive medical interventions, specialized education, and assistive technologies, imposing substantial financial burdens on families. The costs associated with providing care for children with developmental disabilities underscore the importance of minimizing mercury exposure during pregnancy.

Minimization of Mercury Exposure

Efforts to mitigate mercury exposure during pregnancy include avoiding high-mercury fish varieties and opting for safer alternatives. Dental procedures involving mercury should be postponed during pregnancy, and alternative filling materials should be considered. Additionally, precautions such as avoiding mercury-containing household items and supporting stricter environmental regulations to reduce mercury emissions are essential for safeguarding maternal and fetal health.


Mercury poses significant risks to fetal development, necessitating proactive measures to minimize exposure. By understanding the sources and consequences of mercury exposure, individuals can make informed choices to protect maternal and fetal health. Strict adherence to preventive measures and advocacy for environmental policies are crucial in mitigating the adverse effects of mercury on prenatal development.


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PSY FPX 6010 Assessment 2 Mercury as a Teratogen

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PSY FPX 6010 Assessment 2 Mercury as a Teratogen

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