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.

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

Risk assessment


This substance is entering the environment from the following source(s):

Risk management strategy

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

Risk management evaluation

Click on the following link to view an evaluation of Canada’s efforts to manage risks to the environment and human health caused by mercury:

Risk management tools

Tool(s) developed to manage risks associated with the substance:

International engagement

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


Other information


Substances Management Information Line
Chemicals Management Plan
Gatineau, QC K1A 0H3

Telephone: 1-800-567-1999 (in Canada) or 819-938-3232
Fax: 819-938-3231


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