A cross sectional study of aspects of their neurology was carried out on 77 chloralkali workers previously exposed to mercury (Hg) vapour and compared with 53 age matched referents. The chloralkali workers had been exposed for an average of 7.9 years at a concentration of 59 micrograms Hg/m3 in the working atmosphere. The individual mean urinary concentration of Hg for each year of exposure was 531 nmol Hg/1. On average the exposure had ceased 12.3 years before the examinations. Both the median sensory nerve conduction velocity and the amplitude of the sural nerve were associated with measures of cumulative exposure to Hg. An association was also found between years since first exposure to Hg and aspects of the visual evoked response. Previously exposed subjects with postural tremor or impaired coordination also had alterations in visual evoked response. These results may indicate an effect of previous exposure to mercury vapour on the nervous system, possibly in the visual pathway, cerebellum, and the peripheral sensory nerves.
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