A study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1995 showed that a major source of mercury accumulation in the human body comes from mercury in meat it can be as high as those in fish and seafood but because meat stores inorganic mercury, only 10 percent of it stay in the body. Fish and seafood retain methylmercury, of which up to 90 per cent can be stored in the body's tissues. A tragic and now infamous event which occurred in Minamata Bay - Japan in the 1953, highlighted the dangers of inorganic mercury as a water pollutant when it was methylated by microorganisms in anaerobic sludge lying at the bottom of the bay. In 1960, organic methylmercury was finally detected in seafood eaten by the local population. The poisoning affected 397 villagers resulting in 68 people deaths and 22 severe birth defects. Mercury poisoning is still sometimes referred to as Minimata disease.
Mass poisonings have also occurred in various parts of the world where organomercury compounds have been used as fungicides to treat seed grain. The treated grain should not be used as food but it is used to feed livestock!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the meat becomes contaminated. One such large-scale poisoning incident occurred in Iraq in 1971-1972 when alkylmercury fungicides were used to treat cereal grain. This involved 6000 people and resulted 500 deaths.