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Environ Res. 1993 Feb;60(2):320-7.

Psychological effects of low exposure to mercury vapor: application of a computer-administered neurobehavioral evaluation system.

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Department of Occupational Health, Shanghai Medical University, People's Republic of China.


A computer-administered neurobehavioral evaluation system in a Chinese language version (NES-C) and a mood inventory of the profile of mood states (POMS) were applied to assess the psychological effects of low-level exposure to mercury vapor in a group of 88 workers (19 males and 69 females, with mean age of 34.2 years) exposed to mercury vapor (average duration of exposure 10.4 years). The well-matched group of 97 nonexposed workers was treated as the control. The intensity of current mercury vapor was relatively mild as reflected by the average level of mercury in the air of the workplace (0.033 mg/m3) and in urine (0.025 mg/liter). The results indicated that the profile of mood states posed was moving to the negative side in Hg-exposed group and most of the NES-C performances, in particular, the mental arithmetic, two-digit search, switching attention, visual choice reaction time, and finger tapping, were also significantly affected compared with those obtained from controls (P < 0.05-0.01). The present study and the previous study on the validation of the system suggest that the NES-C we developed is valid for the neurotoxicity screening among the working population exposed to neurotoxic agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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