Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1979;5(1):59-69    pdf


Individual mercury exposure of chloralkali workers and its relation to blood and urinary mercury levels.

by Lindstedt G, Gottberg I, Holmgren B, Jonsson T, Karlsson G

On two occasions, chloralkali workers were investigated with regard to personal air mercury exposure, blood mercury and urinary mercury. The first investigation (13 workers, 2 weeks) was made at an exposure above the threshold limit value (64 microgram/m3, range 36--112), the second (16 workers, 8 weeks) at a lower exposure (23 microgram/m3, range 15--43). At the higher level of exposure, good correlations were found between air exposure and blood or urinary mercury for the group, but not for individuals. At the lower level, the correlations were less pronounced for the group. For individuals, the best correlation was found between mean air exposure during one week and blood mercury about half a week later. Other individuals, mainly the least exposed, showed no such correlation. Corresponding correlations were not found for urinary mercury. The urinary excretion rate was determined only for the last few hours of the workday, but the results agree with earlier investigations of 24-h excretion on a group basis. The threshold limit value for mercury in air (50 microgram/m3) corresponds to 150--175 nmol Hg/1 blood (= 30--35 microgram/1) for the group, with large individual variation.