The extent of occupational exposure of workers to mercury (7439976) from the use of exterior latex paints preserved with mercury containing compounds was studied. Urinary mercury levels and air mercury concentrations were measured in a group of painters using brands of paint which had been determined to contain high concentrations of mercury. The mercury content of the paints used by the subjects ranged from 324 to 679 milligrams/liter and the median air mercury concentration was found to be 1.0 micrograms/cubic meter compared with undetectable levels found in air sampled from a referent group of nonpainters. The painters were found to have significantly higher urinary mercury levels and urinary mercury to creatinine ratios compared with the referents. A positive dose response relationship was seen between urinary mercury levels and time spent using the paint. The concentration of mercury in the air was found to be a strong predictor for urinary mercury level although these measurements did not correlate well and air mercury levels did not correlate with paint mercury levels.
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