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Mercury blood test

Blood London provides Mercury Blood Testing UK on a self-referral basis to patients in Greater and Central London. We have offered blood tests in London for over 20 years, and you can walk into our clinic on weekdays, including weekends, for your Mercury Blood test.

Our weekday working hours are 9 am to 6 pm and 10 am to 2 pm on weekdays. Our highly experienced healthcare providers will draw your blood sample and send them to top-rated and fully-equipped labs for testing.

Please note that when you order blood tests on a self-referral basis, we will forward the laboratory report without comment or note from our doctor. Comments and notes on laboratory reports are only available to patients under our doctor’s care.

If you need a consultation after you get your test results or further testing and treatment, contact our clinic, and we will happily assist you.

What is a mercury blood test?

A mercury blood test measures your level of mercury exposure. Eating fish can affect the result of this test, especially some deep sea fish, as they may contain mercury. A mercury blood test is ideal if you are worried about mercury exposure from your environment or workplace. Employers who need to carry out biological monitoring for workers potentially exposed to mercury order for this test.

What is the test for?

A mercury test detects the presence of excess mercury in a blood or urine sample. Your healthcare provider may order a mercury test to determine if you were exposed to mercury for an extended period (chronic exposure) or if you had a short-term or acute exposure to elevated levels of mercury.

This test may also help monitor people who may have experienced exposure to mercury in the workplace. Testing for different mercury forms will require more than one type of sample.

  • Blood testing is primarily to detect methylmercury, the mercury found in fish and other seafood. This testing can also detect other forms of mercury, both metallic and inorganic, but their amount reduces by half every three days as mercury moves into organs in the body like the kidneys and brain. The ideal time for this blood testing is within a few days of the suspected mercury exposure.
  • Urine testing can detect metallic mercury and the inorganic forms of mercury, but this test cannot determine exposure to dietary methylmercury.
  • Hair testing can detect exposure to methylmercury several months ago, but this test is relatively complex and isn’t common
  • Mercury testing is also done with stool, breast milk, and nails, but these tests aren’t common.

Other general laboratory tests can help evaluate the health of different organs of someone previously exposed to toxic mercury levels. These tests are a complete blood count (CBC) and a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)

Reference ranges

The references range for different samples include:

  • Urine: 0 – 2umol/molCreatinine
  • Blood: 1 – 16nmol/L

Specimen requirements

Blood testing requires a whole blood sample collected in a sodium heparin trace element tube, while the urine sample should be in a plain container.

Turnaround time

Our turnaround time varies, but usually two weeks.

How is the blood sample collected?

A healthcare provider will take your blood sample by inserting a small needle into a vein in your arm, or you will provide a random or 24-hour urine sample. Mercury testing rarely requires nails, breast milk or hair.

What does the mercury test measure?

Mercury occurs in different toxic forms, which are detectable in different samples.

  • Elemental or metallic mercury is a liquid used in dental fillings, batteries and thermometers. A urine test can detect this form of mercury.
  • Inorganic mercury salts are produced from the reaction of mercury with non-carbon-based compounds. The mercury is usually in crystal or powder form. They can be used in topical preparations like antiseptic or lightening creams. Urine mercury testing can detect this form of mercury.
  • Methylmercury and other organic mercury compounds are produced from the reactions between carbon-based organic compounds and mercury. Large, older predator fishes like king mackerel and shark usually contain bacteria with elevated levels of methylmercury, so eating these fishes exposes you to high mercury levels. Blood testing can detect high methylmercury levels.

Most people are exposed to small amounts of mercury, which does not cause health concerns. However, you can develop complications or symptoms when exposed to high mercury concentrations at sites for hazardous waste disposal or extended periods of mercury exposure, especially if you work with heavy metals.

Exposure to elevated amounts of mercury can be toxic. The amount of mercury your body absorbs, and its effect on your health depends on the nature of exposure, the form of mercury and its concentration.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) reports that the body can absorb or swallow very little metallic mercury (less than 0.01%), but if you inhale the same amount, about 80% gets absorbed into the bloodstream.

The digestive tract absorbs about 95% of methylmercury. Eating contaminated seafood is the most common way humans are exposed to methylmercury. Eating fish from contaminated waters where large predator fishes eat smaller fish can significantly increase your methylmercury levels. Ensure you know the source of the fish you eat and reduce the quantity of large predator fish you eat.

As the body absorbs mercury, it deposits it in different organs, including your brain and kidneys. Your body will gradually get rid of mercury through stool and urine, but if elevated levels accumulate, permanent damage may occur in the brain, nervous system and kidneys.

Pregnant women with increased levels of mercury can pass it to their unborn baby. Mercury in babies can affect their nerves, kidneys and brain. Babies can also get mercury from their mother’s breast milk during nursing.

When should I undergo mercury testing?

Your healthcare professional may order mercury testing when you have signs and symptoms suggesting increased exposure to mercury. Acute symptoms and signs from mercury exposure may include”

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Chills and fever
  • Cough, chest tightness and difficulty breathing
  • Burning in the lungs and mouth
  • Vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhoea or nausea
  • Difficulty urinating and reduced urine output

Chronic mercury exposure usually causes non-specific symptoms involving the nervous system, kidneys and lungs. These symptoms may include:

  • Memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Problems with smell, taste and hearing
  • Tremors or tingling in the legs or arms
  • Blurry vision or tunnel vision
  • Difficulty walking

Your doctor may order mercury testing to evaluate the extent of exposure even when symptoms do not occur following mercury exposure.

Regular mercury testing may be necessary for people who work with mercury. The healthcare professional may order mercury tests with other tests to detect lead and other heavy metals for people who work with different potentially hazardous materials.

If you experience symptoms of mercury exposure or have had a known exposure to mercury and need mercury testing, visit Blood London for your test. You can also call us on 020 71830244 to book an appointment for your mercury test.

How Blood London Works

Order your test

Order your test

Select the test that you would like to undergo

Provide your sample

Provide your sample

Go to the Harley Street clinic for your blood draw and pay for your test in person

View your results

View your results

As soon as the results are ready, the will be sent to you by your chosen method

World class partner lab (TDL)

World class partner lab (TDL)

Advice from expert UK doctors

Advice from expert UK doctors

Repeat your tests and track your improvements!

Repeat your tests and track your improvements!

Comprehensive Blood Testing