Among the most dangerous natural occurring elements are arsenic, mercury, lead, and cadmium. But perhaps the most harmful of them all, most especially to children, is “methyl mercury, although inorganic mercury is also a potential concern. Methyl mercury, like lead, is toxic to the developing brain. While high-dose exposures can result in a cerebral palsy-like syndrome, low dose exposures may cause subtle deficits in learning and memory.”
Methyl mercury does not occur naturally, nor does elemental cadmium. Native arsenic, mercury, and lead do occur but they are extraordinarily rare in nature as pure elements. All do form fairly common compounds in nature that can transmit harmful exposures to humans.
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