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Create ideas for a non-invasive testkit to screen for methyl mercury in the body

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  • My name is Fransje de Gelder and I'm working for Enviu in the Netherlands ( Together with Clear Light Ventures, a social venture in San Fransisco, Enviu is organizing an open source crowdsource challenge to scout business concepts for a non-invasive test kit to screen for methyl mercury in the human body.

    The winning business concept wins $2.500 and a possible investment of Clear Light Ventures in the business concept to further develop it into a prototype.

    Mercury poisoning, though becoming more known, is still quite pervasive and many people have higher mercury levels in their bodies than the CDC or WHO recommend and don’t even know it. Information is power. If there was a simple, fast, non-invasive test for mercury that could be performed routinely (think along the lines of taking your temperature, or checking your blood pressure at the grocery store) either at regular intervals or when symptoms suggest, then one could avoid potentially detrimental health and intelligence effects.

    You can read more about the challenge on the website:

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  • Stephen E.

    Intriguing challenge. I can envision a non invasive test, I would think a skin scraping could be collected in a protease, then transferred to ( a cassette for capillary separation. In the pathway would be rhodamine dye that can bind with Methyl-Hg (, then the cassette could be read for fluorescence. If applied to 3rd world nations, then then cassette would have places for several samples. Just a thought.


    December 10, 2014

  • James C.

    It would be nice! I had 5 needle sticks to check my levels recently. At least the level came down to within normal limits.

    July 11, 2013

  • Jonathan

    Just published: DOI:[masked]/science[masked] Make a biobrick encoding hgcA & hgcB then optimize it for a decade and a half until it works.

    February 12, 2013

  • Jonathan

    Is it passed via body waste, yay or nay?

    February 12, 2013

  • Henrik B.

    Hello George, I work at Clear Light Ventures, the sponsor for the Toxic Metal Challenge. In terms of where mercury concentrates in the body, it can concentrate in many organs although I haven't seen too many articles detailing this. The reports I've seen indicate concentration in the brain/nervous system, kidneys, liver, umbilical cord, skeleton, etc. If you find articles siting these or other organs I'd be interested.
    Regards, Henrik.

    February 1, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I guess that would be where one would start. Perhaps they get concentrated in a specific area or organ. Might even be the same locations as with fish like salmon. Fish seem to accumulate Mercury.

      February 1, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I was curious as to whether the body concentrates Mercury in a location or organ as does Iodine in the thyroid. I'm long retired, but have a wide experience in chemistry and physics. Not able to get around well, but could help in some fashion. I started four small businesses so am able to see the failure points and how to get started. The newspaper article sounded like a very good idea and it occurred to me that I may still have something to contribute.
    Who knows. g

    January 30, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    In what form is the mercury in a body?
    If it is in the metallic state, then an implanted Gold electrode in the blood system could attract the Mercury and form an amalgam after a few passes of the body's blood past that location. It would not only remove the Hg, but allow a quantitative assay of how much was there in the system in the first place, when the electrode was removed and analyzed.
    Not a quick assay tool, but a possible non-pharmaceutical approach to cleansing a system.
    Decrepidness does not allow me to drive too far from my humble hovel in La Jolla. So meetings are difficult. Mind not quite dead yet.

    January 28, 2013

    • Fransje de G.

      Dear George, a criteria for the test kit is that it is non-invasive and easy to use. But if you think this works good, you can argue it on the platform deliver your business concept for here: http://toxicmetalchal...­ You can ofcourse join the community of experts on the platform and start a discussion about this possible solution (http://toxicmetalchal...­). Clear Light Ventures, the initiator of this challenge, is also present on the platform and are happy to answer all your questions about developing a business concept. Note that the challenge ends in two weeks, on the 13th. Fransje

      January 30, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      My limited knowledge is in physical chemistry and odd things like water chemistry, air sampling, physical oceanographic devices ,etc.

      January 30, 2013

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  • Henrik B.

    I work for Clear Light Ventures, the sponsor of the Toxic Metal Challange.

  • Fransje de G.

    I'm Fransje, a sociologist from the Netherlands, and I work for Enviu where we start world... more

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