Relation between exposure related indices and neurological and neurophysiological effects in workers previously exposed to mercury vapour

Br J Ind Med. 1993 Aug;50(8):736-44. doi: 10.1136/oem.50.8.736.


A cross sectional study of aspects of their neurology was carried out on 77 chloralkali workers previously exposed to mercury (Hg) vapour and compared with 53 age matched referents. The chloralkali workers had been exposed for an average of 7.9 years at a concentration of 59 micrograms Hg/m3 in the working atmosphere. The individual mean urinary concentration of Hg for each year of exposure was 531 nmol Hg/1. On average the exposure had ceased 12.3 years before the examinations. Both the median sensory nerve conduction velocity and the amplitude of the sural nerve were associated with measures of cumulative exposure to Hg. An association was also found between years since first exposure to Hg and aspects of the visual evoked response. Previously exposed subjects with postural tremor or impaired coordination also had alterations in visual evoked response. These results may indicate an effect of previous exposure to mercury vapour on the nervous system, possibly in the visual pathway, cerebellum, and the peripheral sensory nerves.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem / drug effects
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / drug effects
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Median Nerve / physiopathology
  • Mercury / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Conduction / physiology
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Sural Nerve / physiopathology
  • Time Factors
  • Tremor / chemically induced


  • Mercury