Women in dental surgeries: reproductive hazards in occupational exposure to metallic mercury

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 1987;59(6):551-7. doi: 10.1007/BF00377918.


Eighty-one women (45 dentists and 36 dental assistants) occupationally exposed to metallic mercury underwent a toxicoclinical examination. Total mercury lebels (TMLs) were determined in scalp and pubic hair by cold vapour AAS. Furthermore a detailed questionnaire study was made concerning adverse reproductive events. TMLs in the hair of the exposed women examined exceeded significantly those determined in the hair of 34 controls not exposed to mercury. All exposed women had continued working during pregnancy. There was a significant, positive association between TMLs in the hair of exposed women and the occurrence of reproductive failures in their history. The relation between TMLs in the scalp hair and the prevalence of menstrual cycle disorders was statistically significant. These findings indicate that dental work could be another occupational hazard with respect to reproductive processes.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced / epidemiology
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / chemically induced
  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology
  • Adult
  • Dental Assistants*
  • Dentists, Women*
  • Female
  • Hair / analysis
  • Humans
  • Menstruation Disturbances / chemically induced
  • Menstruation Disturbances / epidemiology
  • Mercury / analysis
  • Mercury Poisoning / complications*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / chemically induced*


  • Mercury