Anales de la Facultad de Medicina
Print ISSN 1025-5583
RAMIREZ, Augusto V. Mercury occupational poisoning. An. Fac. med., ene./mar 2008, vol.69, no.1, p.46-51. ISSN 1025-5583.
Mercury, heavy metal widely used, is very toxic and produces protoplasmic damage to central nervous system, disturbances of behaviour and renal injuries. Mercury is accumulated in all living beings and is not essential for any biological process. Mercury toxicity is directly related to its chemical state. Metil-mercury is the most harmful form with neurotoxic effects in adults and foetuses of exposed mothers. Metallic mercury is not less toxic. Inorganic mercury salts affect mainly the kidney. In occupational exposure to mercury, we can find the classic triad: tremor, personality alterations and stomatitis. In the last years alteration in the chromatic vision has also been demonstrated. We use mercury blood measurement to evaluate acute mercury exposure. Occupational exposure is better determined by measuring composite 24 hours urine. Chelating agents -BAL or D penicillamine- are used to treat both acute and occupational poisoning.
Keywords: Mercury poisoning; toxicology; occupational exposure.
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