Very young children are more sensitive to mercury than adults. Mercury in the mother's body passes to the fetus and may accumulate there. It can also can pass to a nursing infant through breast milk. However, the benefits of breast feeding may be greater than the possible adverse effects of mercury in breast milk.
Mercury's harmful effects that may be passed from the mother to the fetus include brain damage, mental retardation, incoordination, blindness, seizures, and inability to speak. Children poisoned by mercury may develop problems of their nervous and digestive systems, and kidney damage.