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Parameters of immunity acute phase reaction in men in relation to exposure duration to mercury vapours.

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Province Immunology Laboratory in Brzesko, Poland.


The study was carried out in 89 men aged 21 to 57 years with a history of exposure to mercury vapour from 2 to 26 years during occupational work involving chlorine production by the method of mercury electrolysis. The workers were divided into three groups depending on the duration of occupational exposure: 1) 32 workers with a short history of exposure 2-10 years, 2) 37 workers with medium-long exposure - 11-20 years, and 3) 20 workers with a history of long exposure - 21-26 years. The urinary concentrations of mercury in these individuals was 73 +/- 60 microliters x 1(-1), and in blood this concentration was not exceeding 50 microliters x 1(-1). The control group comprised 40 men aged 17 to 52 years. They had not had any occupational exposure to chemicals, or harmful physical factors. On the basis of clinical, haematological and biochemical studies 89 workers with occupational exposure to mercury vapour were regarded as clinically healthy. None of them had any symptoms and signs of the complete neurasthenic syndrome or organic brain injury. Increased nervous excitability was the complaint of 24 workers, 9 had headaches, sleep disturbances were reported by 5, and a feeling of tiredness and apathy was mentioned by 5 men. EEG recording demonstrated 81 normal tracings, and moderately pathological records in 8 men. The parameters of immunity and proteins acute phase reaction were determined, measuring the concentration of immunoglobulins, lysozyme, C3c, C4, alpha 1-acid glycoprotein, haptoglobin and ceruloplasmin in serum. A lower level of IgA, IgG and lysozyme was only noted in individuals with occupational exposure exceeding 20 years.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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