Neurophysiological and neuropsychological function in mercury-exposed dentists

Lancet. 1982 May 22;1(8282):1147-50. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(82)92226-7.


In a study of the relation between cumulative exposure to mercury and chronic health impairment 298 dentists had their mercury levels measured by an X-ray fluorescence technique. Electrodiagnostic and neuropsychological findings in the dentists with more than 20 micrograms/g tissue mercury levels were compared with those of a control group consisting of dentists with no detectable mercury levels. 30% of the 23 high mercury dentists had polyneuropathies. No polyneuropathies were detected in the control group. The high mercury group had mild visuographic dysfunction; they also had more symptom-distress than did the control group. These findings suggest that the use of mercury as a restorative material is a health risk for dentists.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dentists*
  • Electrodiagnosis
  • Electrophysiology
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mercury / blood
  • Mercury Poisoning / diagnosis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Psychological Tests
  • Risk
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Mercury