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Effects of elemental mercury exposure at a thermometer plant.
Ehrenberg RL; Vogt RL; Smith AB; Brondum J; Brightwell WS; Hudson PJ; McManus KP; Hannon WH; Phipps FC
Am J Ind Med 1991 Apr; 19(4):495-507
A study of mercury (7439976) exposure was conducted at a small, rural manufacturer of mercury thermometers and glass scientific products. An assessment was made of self reported symptom prevalences, neurological status and renal status for 84 exposed workers, and a comparison group of 79 unexposed workers at a nearby electronics factory. Personal breathing zone air samples ranged from 25.6 to 270.6 micrograms/cubic meter for thermometer workers. Urinary mercury levels ranged from 1.3 to 344.5 micrograms/gram creatinine. Static tremor, abnormal Romberg test results, dysdiadochokinesia, and difficulty with heel to toe gait were more prevalent among thermometer workers than comparison workers. These symptoms could not necessarily be associated with recent mercury exposure and there was some suggestion of an association with chronic exposure. A positive correlation was noted between urinary N-acetyl-b-D-glucosaminidase and urinary mercury levels. No consistent evidence was found for intergroup differences in proximal renal tubule function as measured by urinary beta2-microglobulin or retinol binding protein.
NIOSH-Author; Mercury-poisoning; Nervous-system-disorders; Neuromotor-disorders; Neurotoxic-effects; Renal-toxicity; Urinalysis; Air-quality-monitoring; Occupational-exposure; Author Keywords: occupational diseases; kidney diseases; neurologic manifestations; N-acetyl-b-D-glucosaminidase; ß2-microglobulin; retinol binding protein
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
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Page last reviewed: September 11, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division