Academic Article


  • 2001

Neuropsychological effects were examined in 47 mercury vapor exposed male chloralkali workers with current low concentrations of urinary mercury (mean U-Hg 5.9 nmol/mmol creatinine (Cr)). Their average duration of exposure was 13.3 years, and the calculated mean concentration of U-Hg was 9.0 nmol Hg/mmol Cr per year (exposure intensity) during their time of exposure. They were compared with 47 age-matched male referents in a cross-sectional study. The two groups were not statistically significantly different with respect to neuropsychological test performance or number of self-reported subjective symptoms. The test results of the Static Steadiness Test, which assesses tremor, were not associated with exposure to mercury vapor. However, current smokers had more hand tremor than non-smokers. Statistically significant associations were found between indices of current exposure (the concentration of inorganic mercury in whole blood) and the results of the WAIS Digit Symbol Test and the Benton Visual Retention Test (number of correct responses). This could indicate a small effect of current exposure on visuomotor/psychomotor speed and attention, and immediate visual memory. Whether the association found between the historical exposure intensity and the Digit Symbol Test results may represent long-term consequences of exposure cannot be determined in this study.

Ellingsen, Dag; Bast-Pettersen, Rita; Efskind, Jon; Thomassen, Yngvar
Neurotoxicology 22(2): 249–258
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