Symptoms of intoxication in dentists associated with exposure to low levels of mercury

Ind Health. 2011;49(2):249-54. doi: 10.2486/indhealth.ms1214. Epub 2010 Dec 16.

Abstract

The present study examined the effects of occupational exposure of a group of dentists to low levels of mercury. The study population consisted of 106 dentists and 94 general practitioners (referent group), from private and public clinics in Shiraz city. Subjects were requested to complete a questionnaire on demographic variables, suspicious symptoms of intoxication and work practices. Additionally, atmospheric and urinary concentrations of mercury were measured by Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy technique. The data were analysed by χ(2) test, independent sample t-test and multivariate logistic regression analysis, where applicable. Both groups were similar as far as most demographic and socioeconomic variables, but age and number of personal amalgam fillings, were concerned. Median of atmospheric concentration of mercury was found to be 3.35 μg/m(3). Likewise, the urinary concentration of mercury in dentists was estimated to be 3.16 μg/g creatinine. This value was significantly higher than that of the referent group. Similarly, analysis of the data revealed that neuropsychological, muscular, respiratory, cardiovascular and dermal symptoms were more prevalent in dentists. Our findings indicate that occupational exposure of dentists to mercury, even at low levels, is associated with a significant increase in the prevalence of symptoms of intoxication.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis*
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / poisoning*
  • Dental Amalgam / poisoning
  • Dentists*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mercury Poisoning, Nervous System / etiology*
  • Mercury Poisoning, Nervous System / urine
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Socioeconomic Factors

Substances

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Dental Amalgam