Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1989;15(1):69-74    pdf


Subjective symptoms and psychological performance of chlorine-alkali workers.

by Piikivi L, Hanninen H

Subjective symptoms and psychological performances on a computer-administered test battery were studied among a group of 60 chlorine-alkali workers and their matched referents. The exposure time of the group exposed to inorganic mercury vapor had been about 14 years, and the estimated long-term average exposure had been about 25 micrograms/m3 of air. The exposed workers had an actual mercury concentration of 51.9 (SD 25.0, range 15-150) nmol/l in blood and 84.1 (SD 56.6, range 15-260) nmol/l in urine. Neither perceptual motor nor memory nor learning abilities of the mercury-exposed workers showed any disturbances in a comparison with the referents. However, the exposed group reported statistically significantly more memory disturbances than the referents. Strain caused by three-shift work was a possible cofactor for other increased subjective symptoms, namely, for sleep disorders, fatigue, and confusion.