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Environ Res. 1993 Aug;62(2):289-302.

Subjective symptoms and neurobehavioral performances of ex-mercury miners at an average of 18 years after the cessation of chronic exposure to mercury vapor. Mercury Workers Study Group.

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1
Department of Public Health, Sapporo Medical College, Japan.

Abstract

In order to determine if there are any residual effects of long-term exposure to mercury vapor, neurobehavioral tests were given to ex-mercury miners about 18 years after the cessation of mercury exposure. Seventy-six male ex-mercury miners who had been exposed to relatively high concentrations of mercury vapor (over 1.0 mg/m3) and with a past history of mercury intoxication were compared to age (+/- 3 years)-, sex-, and years of education-matched controls. Although the extent of the workers' symptoms caused by mercury poisoning, termed erethismus merculialis, markedly decreased after the cessation of exposure, the prevalence of neurological symptoms (such as hand tremors, headaches, and slurred speech) and symptoms of senility (such as low-back pain, loss of sexual desire) in the ex-miners was significantly higher than those in the controls. Matched-pair analysis showed that performances of motor coordination, Simple reaction time, and Short-term memory in the ex-miners were significantly deteriorated compared to those of controls. There are slight but persistent effects on neurobehavioral function, especially on motor coordination function, among mercury miners more than 10 years after the cessation of exposure.

PMID:
8344236
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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