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Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 1998 Jan;52(4):661-6.

[Mercury sensitization induced by environmental exposure].

[Article in Japanese]

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Fukui Prefectural Institute of Public Health, Japan.


We investigated mercury sensitization in relation to urinary and hair mercury concentrations. Patch tests were performed on 215 medical students and these tests demonstrated that 28 students were mercury-sensitized (13.0%). Life-styles were studied by questionnaire in 26 of the mercury sensitized students and 46 of the non-sensitized subjects. Urinary mercury concentrations were measured in 25 sensitized and 46 non-sensitized and hair mercury concentrations were measured in 19 sensitized and 22 non-sensitized subjects. The eating of fish was not significantly associated with mercury sensitization (one-tailed t-test). The number of teeth treated with metals in the sensitized group was significantly higher than in the control group (6.8 +/- 4.3 in sensitized vs. 4.8 +/- 4.1 in non-sensitized, one-tailed t-test. p < 0.05). The usage of mercurochrome was not significantly associated with mercury sensitization (chi-squared test). Urinary mercury concentrations were not significantly higher in sensitized subjects. Hair mercury concentrations were significantly higher in sensitized subjects (1.98 +/- 0.91 micrograms/g in sensitized vs. 1.23 +/- 0.53 in non-sensitized, one-tailed t-test p < 0.05). These results suggest that mercury sensitization is associated with increased hair mercury concentrations but not with urinary mercury concentrations. In this study it is confirmed that dental amalgam for treating teeth may be an important factor relating to mercury sensitization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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