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Mercury Poisoning from an Unsuspected Source
  1. M. Tamir,
  2. B. Bornstein,
  3. M. Behar,
  4. M. Chwat
  1. Neurological Department, Beilinson Hospital, Petah-Tiqva, Israel
  2. The Department of Industrial Medicine, Tel-Aviv, Israel


    In the manufacture of zinc oxide the raw material normally used in zinc metal plates. In a factory in which old aeroplane batteries containing zinc mercury amalgam were substituted, it was not realized that mercury vapour was being produced. Of 25 workers exposed, seven developed serious chronic mercury poisoning and were admitted to hospital. The clinical findings in the affected workers are described. They were first treated with penicillamine D, but in all but one case this had to be stopped because of rashes. Little improvement followed a switch to B.A.L. It is suggested that if penicillamine D is used in the treatment of mercury poisoning, steroid cover should be given from the start.

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