NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-84-090-1533, Dental Offices, Wellston, Ohio.
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 84-090-1533, D1984 Nov; :1-20
Environmental and breathing zone samples were analyzed for mercury (7439976) in a dental office (SIC-8021) in January, 1984. The survey was requested by the County Health Office out of concern of mercury exposure to a pregnant dental assistant. Interviews were conducted with five office personnel. Breathing zone mercury concentrations were 3.8 to 18 micrograms per cubic meter (microg/m3). The OSHA standard for mercury is 100microg/m3. Environmental (surface) mercury concentrations generally ranged from 5 to 148microg/m3, the higher readings occurring in areas of high mercury use. Surface mercury concentrations up to 350microg/m3 were found on a powered vacuum cleaner used to clean the office carpeting. None of the employees reported any symptoms of mercury poisoning. Previously determined urinary mercury concentrations were available for four of the workers. All concentrations were below toxic ranges. The authors conclude that a health hazard due to mercury does not exist for nonpregnant dental office employees. No safe limit of exposure has been established for pregnant individuals. The pregnant individual should not be exposed to mercury. Recommendations included removal of carpeting, especially in high mercury use areas, and cleaning up spilled mercury droplets using a vacuum system with a water trap.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Hazards-Unconfirmed; Dentistry; Region-5; X-ray-absorption; Inhalants; Environmental-contamination; X-ray-diagnosis; HETA-84-090-1533; Author Keywords: Offices of Dentists; Mercury; Mercury-Hygienic-Techniques; X-Ray
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division