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Exposures of dental professionals to elemental mercury and methylmercury.


ABSTRACT: Mercury (Hg) exposure, a worldwide public health concern, predominantly takes two forms--methylmercury from fish consumption and elemental Hg from dental amalgam restorations. We recruited 630 dental professionals from an American Dental Association meeting to assess Hg body burden and primary sources of exposure in a dually exposed population. Participants described occupational practices and fish consumption patterns via questionnaire. Hg levels in biomarkers of elemental Hg (urine) and methylmercury (hair and blood) were measured with a Direct Mercury Analyzer-80 and were higher than the general US population. Geometric means (95% CI) were 1.28 (1.19-1.37) ?g/l in urine, 0.60 (0.54-0.67) ?g/g in hair and 3.67 (3.38-3.98) ?g/l in blood. In multivariable linear regression, personal amalgams predicted urine Hg levels along with total years in dentistry, amalgams handled, working hours and sex. Fish consumption patterns predicted hair and blood Hg levels, which were higher among Asians compared with Caucasians. Five species contributed the majority of the estimated Hg intake from fish--swordfish, fresh tuna, white canned tuna, whitefish and king mackerel. When studying populations with occupational exposure to Hg, it is important to assess environmental exposures to both elemental Hg and methylmercury as these constitute a large proportion of total exposure.

SUBMITTER: Goodrich JM 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4689636 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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