Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2012;38(6):546-552    pdf


Cognitive function among sons of women who worked in dentistry

by Naimi-Akbar A, Sandborgh-Englund G, Ekbom A, Ekstrand J, Montgomery S

Objective Exposure to elemental mercury vapor can impair neurological function as it is neurotoxic in doses higher than usually found in dentistry. Little is known about the potential effects of fetal exposure to elemental mercury among offspring of female dental workers. We investigated cognitive function among offspring of women working in dentistry at the time of their pregnancy.

Methods We compared results for cognitive function examinations taken by the majority of young men in Sweden at the time of compulsory military enlistment (age 17–18 years). Sons of female dentists (N=365) and dental nurses (N=3181) born during the 1960–1970s were compared with sons of female physicians (N=378) and assistant nurses (N=12 667).

Results Analysis by linear regression showed that sons of dental workers had similar or higher cognitive function test results compared to their matched cohorts.

Conclusion We found no evidence of poorer cognitive function among male offspring of female dentists or dental nurses.

This article refers to the following texts of the Journal: 1984;10(1):35-41  1999;25(3):285-290  2010;36(3):231-241  2011;37(6):539-546