Assessment of exposure to arsenic among smelter workers: a five-year follow-up

Am J Ind Med. 1994 Apr;25(4):477-88. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700250403.


In a group of 43 smelter workers exposed to inorganic arsenic dust for 13-45 years, nerve conduction velocities (NCVs) were significantly lower in two peripheral nerves as compared with matching referents. With multivariate data analysis, a significant negative correlation was found between cumulative absorption of arsenic and NCV in four examined nerves and the sural amplitude. Clinical symptoms of neuropathy and other symptoms related to arsenic exposure were moderate, though the difference between the groups was significant. The mean total absorption of arsenic was calculated to be less than 5 g, and the maximal absorption about 20 g. These data indicate that the adverse effect of arsenic on the peripheral nerves is dependent on long-term exposure rather than on short-term fluctuations in exposure levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Arsenic / adverse effects*
  • Arsenic / pharmacokinetics
  • Arsenic Trioxide
  • Arsenicals / adverse effects
  • Arsenicals / pharmacokinetics
  • Electromyography / drug effects
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Neurons / drug effects
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Diseases / urine
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Oxides / adverse effects
  • Oxides / pharmacokinetics
  • Peripheral Nerves / drug effects
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / urine
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Arsenicals
  • Oxides
  • Arsenic
  • Arsenic Trioxide