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Mercury Tragedy at Dartmouth

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In 1996, Dartmouth College professor and toxic chemical specialist Dr. Karen E. Wetterhahn was fatally poisoned by dimethylmercury, she died June 8, 1987. The compound, which was being used merely to calibrate her instruments, seeped unnoticed through her protective glove. Symptoms of the poisoning did not arise until six months later when she seriously ill, at which the fatality of the poisoning was irreversible. The accident led to new standards for protective equipment when handling toxic substances and a renewed call to eliminate production and use of dimethylmercury (#Sloane, 2001).


Center for the Environmental Sciences at Dartmouth (including Julie Sloane. Dartmouth Toxic Metals Research Program, 2001.

Clarkson, T. W. (2002). "The Three Modern Faces of Mercury". Environmental Health Perspectives, 110 Suppl 1, 11-23. (EHP on line) (accessed: 3 Aug 2005).

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