Summary Review Of Health Effects Associated With Mercuric Chloride: Health Issue Assessment

Mercuric chloride (HgCl2) is a white crystalline substance that is currently used as a catalyst or reagent in various chemical reactions, and to a lesser extent as a disinfectant or pesticide. ercury exists in various valence states and forms (e.g., He, Hgo, Hg2 2+, and organic mercury), and upon entering an environmental or biological system in one form (e.g., Hgl2+ in HgCl2) may be changed into a different form with different environmental transport properties, pharmacokinetics and toxicity. he estimated intake of inorganic mercury (including HgCl2) for an adult from air, food, water, and dental amalgam restorations is 3.9 to 24.6,ug Hg2+/day. ost inorganic mercury is deposited in the kidney. gCl2 does not readily cross the placental or blood-brain barriers, and relatively little accumulates in the brain following exposure to HgCl2 as compared to elemental or organic mercury. he National Toxicology Program reported "some evidence" of carcinogenic activity in male rats following chronic gavage exposures. PA has assigned inorganic mercury a C classifications, "possible human carcinogen." owever, the predominant effect of repeat oral or inhalation exposures to HgCl2 is kidney damage, either by necrosis of the proximal tubule or by an autoimmune reaction. gCl2 is also a developmental toxicant in experimental animals following both oral and inhalation exposure. he available quantitative data did not allow for the derivation of an inhalation reference concentration (RfC).


Theissen, K., D. Weil, AND J. Gift. Summary Review Of Health Effects Associated With Mercuric Chloride: Health Issue Assessment. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/R-92/199 (NTIS PB95201745).

Additional Information

Project Officer: effrey S. Gift