Toxic substances list: mercury

Approximately half of the mercury currently cycling through our environment originates from human activities (such as the combustion of coal and the incineration of waste), while the other half can be attributed to natural sources and processes. Despite mercury's toxic nature, humans take advantage of its unique properties to produce various consumer products, including fluorescent lights and dental amalgam. When mercury from natural and anthropogenic sources is released to the atmosphere, it can be transported around the globe on wind currents, being deposited onto land and reemitted into the atmosphere several times along the way. Mercury can exist in several forms depending on the surrounding conditions. The most toxic form, known as methylmercury, can bioaccumulate in fish and may pose a potential health threat to fish-eating animals and humans.

For more information on this substance, please visit the Chemical Substances website.

For information on Canada's international engagement on this substance, please visit:

CAS (Chemical Abstract Service) registry number: 7439-97-6 and various (mercury compounds)

Risk Management Strategy

Click on the following link to view strategies and actions recommended to manage risks associated with the substance:


Email address:
Fax number: (819) 994-0007

Chemicals Management Division
Environment Canada
Place Vincent Massey Building
351 St-Joseph Blvd.
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0H3

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