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Need for alertness to neuropsychiatric manifestations of inorganic mercury poisoning.
Ross-WD; Gechman-AS; Sholiton-MC; Paul-HS
Compr Psychiatry 1977 Nov-Dec; 18(6):595-598
A case of neuropsychiatric symptoms induced by exposure to inorganic mercury (7439976) was described. A 28 year old female was examined at a psychiatric and environmental health clinic complaining of marked irritability and related symptoms of emotional tension that had persisted for 2 years. She also reported experiencing painful headaches which were usually accompanied by nausea and feelings of faintness and shakiness. She often felt very fatigued, weak, and had little appetite when she got home from work. Her condition was diagnosed as nervousness by her family physician. A test of immediate memory retention indicated no impairment. A neuropsychiatric examination showed a definite intention tremor on finger to nose testing. Temporary coarse muscular jerking was observed in one arm. Her mouth showed evidence of gingivitis. An industrial hygiene inspection of the laboratory where she worked found widespread contamination with mercury dust and inadequate ventilation. Just before she was removed from exposure her urine mercury concentration averaged 0.142 milligrams per liter (mg/l). Two months later it had decreased to 0.026mg/l. Additionally, data on nine individuals who had been exposed to mercury in four hospital laboratories and their neuropsychiatric symptoms were presented. The prevalence and severity of neuropsychiatric symptoms were positively correlated with the urine mercury concentrations. The authors conclude that the presence of neuropsychiatric symptoms and signs in a patient should alert the diagnostician to the possibility that they could be due to a low grade mercury intoxication.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Psychological-disorders; Case-studies; Mercury-poisoning; Medical-examinations; Occupational-exposure; Clinical-symptoms; Psychophysiology; Neurotoxic-effects; Urinalysis; Chemical-analysis
Psychiatry, Environ Health Cincinnati General Hospital Dept of Psychiatry Cincinnati, Ohio 45229
Issue of Publication
Psychologic Disorders; Psychological-disorders; Neurotoxic Disorders; Neurotoxic-effects
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division