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J Dent Res. 1986 Dec;65(12):1415-9.

Estimation of mercury body burden from dental amalgam: computer stimulation of a metabolic compartmental model.


Estimated release rates of Hg vapor from dental amalgams permitted calculation of the potential Hg body burden by employing a four-compartment model for inorganic and elemental Hg distribution. A computer program, compatible with most personal computers, simulated the cumulative and incremental distribution in each compartment and total body accumulation between 1 and 10,000 days for different daily Hg dosages. For a given Hg dose of 30 micrograms/day, metabolic compartments R1-R3 were close to equilibrium at 5, 100, and 300 days, respectively; whereas by 10,000 days, R4 closely approximated total body burden and had not yet attained equilibrium. Projected values obtained with the computer model were consistent with results obtained by another method using a standard tissue burden equation, which employed experimentally determined tissue half-lives for blood and CNS. The model predicted that continuous exposure to elemental Hg vapor, at 30 micrograms/day for 10 years, would result in a total Hg body burden of 5.9 mg, of which 4.8 mg could be contained in R4. Assuming that the Hg in R4 displayed uniform distribution throughout the body, then the brain concentration was estimated to be 68 ng/g wet weight. In contrast, if Hg in R4 reflected long-term preferential accumulation in brain and other neural tissue, then concentrations as high as 4.0 micrograms/g could be attained. However, predictions of Hg concentrations in blood and urine were well within established ranges, and were unlikely to be of utility in assessing effects of chronic low-dose Hg exposure.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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