I tried to find information about this online but unfortunately couldn't find anything besides more or less serious-looking articles explaining the different kinds of mercury poisoining, etc...

I'm not sure this is the right place to ask but I don't know where else to go. I eat a ton of fish (mostly salmon in the past but have been eating a lot of tuna lately) and have been feeling progressively worse lately with what seem to be typical symptoms of mercury poisoning. Obviously health problem symptoms are a bit like astrology, where any list can be believed to fit one's current situation, but the likelihood is high enough given my diet that I want to get it checked out.

What would be the best way to test for organic (specifically) mercury levels? Do I need to see a family doctor, a certain kind of specialist? Do I go directly to a lab? I've read that organic mercury testing still not being a common thing to do, many doctors don't know what kind of testing to do and recommend the "wrong" kind (inorganic testing for organic testing, etc...).

I live in Boston MA, if it makes a difference.


1 Answer 1


New York State

Yes, I know that you don't live in New York State. This is however the most useful and explanatory document that I have found on this matter and therefore linked it as further information.

Mercury Levels Tests are performed either with urine or with blood in the New York State.

The most commonly accepted methods of assessing mercury exposure are to test urine or blood. Both tests usually measure levels of total mercury (elemental, inorganic and organic). 

  1. Elevated mercury in urine usually indicates exposure to an elemental or inorganic source of mercury, such as from a job that uses mercury. 
  2. Elevated mercury in blood usually indicates exposure to organic mercury (such as from eating fish containing methylmercury) or recent exposure to a high level of elemental mercury vapor. For most people, an elevated blood mercury level is associated with eating fish and other seafood containing organic mercury.

(Source: New York Health Department)

In New York State, it is mandatory to report high level of mercury in blood or urine tests to the New York State Department of Health. Therefore, if anyone in New York had underwent a blood or urine test, they would have been notified if there are high mercury levels. (New York Health Department)


It was a bit more challenging to find sources for Massachusetts. However, if one digs deep this is what I could find:

The Confidential Report Form for the State of Massachusetts states that all persons with mercury blood levels higher than 15 μg / L or urine mercury levels higher than 35 μg / g creatinine must be reported. (Link to the .doc version of the Confidential Report Form).
The Reporting Occupational Diseases and Injuries Form (again in .doc-type) states exactly the same.

The Public Health Fact Sheet Regarding Elemental Mercury Contamination at the Grafton Street School (MA) says that

[mercury] tests are available to measure elemental mercury levels in the body.
Urine or blood samples are used to test for exposure to elemental mercury. Urine is most useful for testing for potential inhalation exposure to elemental mercury.
In order to get the most accurate measure of mercury, the sample should be collected soon after exposure.


Visit a GP of your choice and simply ask them to perform a mercury test on you. They will either collect blood or your urine and send it to a lab. If they perform a urine test and you are very very sure that you only want organic mercury to be checked (where it is recommended to do a blood test), kindly tell them exactly this.

I would strongly recommend printing out the linked PDF-Document and bringing that with you. It is easier for your doctor to accept the official document (and they will see that you are well-informed) than to trust in your reasoning.

Summary of References

New York State Health Department - Understanding Mercury Exposure Levels
Massachusetts Health Department - Confidential Report Form
Massachusetts Health Department - Reporting Occupational Diseases and Injuries Form
Massachusetts Health Department - Public Health Fact Sheet Regarding Elemental Mercury Contamination at the Grafton Street School

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    Thank you for doing all this research. I was hoping there'd be a way to do this without going to a GP but I think you're probably right that there isn't. Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 16:30
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    @Sorry for the late bounty attribution. I wasn't delaying on purpose; it's the first time I do a bounty on one of my questions and I didn't know you have to explicitly click on it, I assumed that accepting the answer would automatically give the bounty to the author. Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 18:25
  • No worries, hope I could help you. I'm sorry that you have to visit the GP in the end, but that's the only "quick" solution. Getting your blood tests into a lab in another way would prove very difficult.
    – Narusan
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 19:01
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    Thanks for following up and sorry for the late reply. You're right about the GP; I made an appointment for next week, so hopefully I'll know soon! Commented Apr 23, 2017 at 6:16
  • @jeremyradcliff I'm eager to hear how it turned out, feel free to edit your question and provide information about how it went. Most of luck!
    – Narusan
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 19:06

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