Urinary mercury levels and early changes in kidney function in dentists and dental assistants

Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 1988 Jun;16(3):148-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0528.1988.tb00563.x.


Mercury exposure and renal function parameters were examined in 68 dentists and 64 dental assistants. The levels of mercury in urine were low: only three individuals exceeded 20 micrograms/l. Increased excretion of urinary proteins and increased activity of urinary enzymes were observed. This enhanced prevalence of renal function changes appeared not to be related to the mercury urine level, age, sex, or smoking and drinking habits. Only for men was a positive relation between the level of mercury in urine and the activity of beta-galactosidase found. The proteinuria may be due to one or more potential nephrotoxic agents used in dental practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dental Assistants*
  • Dentists*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mercury / urine*
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Proteinuria / metabolism
  • beta-Galactosidase / urine


  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Mercury