Dimercaptosuccinic Acid Loading Test for Assessing Mercury Burden in Healthy Individuals

Ann Clin Biochem. 2004 May;41(Pt 3):233-6. doi: 10.1258/000456304323019622.


Background: Oral chelation tests have been used to try to define mercury toxicity in individuals with dental amalgams, who are suffering from a variety of non-specific symptoms.

Methods: Self-reported healthy individuals volunteered to undergo an oral chelation test using dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) at a dose of 30 mg/kg body weight. Urinary mercury : creatinine ratios were measured pre-dose and 3 h post-dose.

Results: Urinary mercury : creatinine ratios were similar to levels previously reported in individuals with symptoms that could have been attributed to mercury toxicity. One volunteer suffered a serious reaction to DMSA.

Conclusion: The oral chelation test using DMSA may lead to misleading diagnostic advice regarding potential mercury toxicity and can be associated with serious side effects.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Body Weight
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chelating Agents*
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Dental Amalgam / adverse effects
  • Healthy People Programs
  • Humans
  • Mercury / urine*
  • Mercury Poisoning / diagnosis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Succimer*


  • Chelating Agents
  • Dental Amalgam
  • Creatinine
  • Succimer
  • Mercury