A survey of mercury (7439976) exposure and uptake in children of workers exposed to mercury was conducted. The impetus for the study was a previous survey that identified significant urinary mercury concentrations among employees of a mercury thermometer and glass manufacturing facility (SIC-3829) in Vermont. The cohort consisted of 23 children of the exposed workers. The comparisons consisted of 39 children randomly selected from parents not employed at the facility. The median age of both groups was 10 years. Urine samples were collected and analyzed for mercury. All subjects were examined by a pediatric neurologist having clinical experience with mercury toxicity. Questionnaires were administered to parents to identify symptoms of mercury toxicity. The median urine mercury concentrations in the cohort and comparisons were 25 and 5 micrograms per liter, respectively. Urine mercury concentrations of the exposed children were significantly correlated with those of their parents. No signs of overt mercury toxicity were seen. No evidence of subtle neurotoxicity in the exposed subjects was found. The authors conclude that heavily exposed parents are more likely to carry mercury home than less exposed parents, resulting in a risk to their children.
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