Revista de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
FARIA, Marcília de Araújo Medrado. Chronic occupational metallic mercurialism. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2003, vol.37, n.1, pp. 116-127. ISSN 0034-8910. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102003000100017.
This is a review on current knowledge of chronic occupational mercurialism syndrome. Major scientific studies and reviews on clinical manifestation and physiopathology of mercury poisoning were evaluated. The search was complemented using Medline and Lilacs data. Erethism or neuropsychological syndrome, characterized by irritability, personality change, loss of self-confidence, depression, delirium, insomnia, apathy, loss of memory, headaches, general pain, and tremors, is seen after exposure to metallic mercury. Hypertension, renal disturbances, allergies and immunological conditions are also common. Mercury is found in many different work processes: industries, gold mining, and dentistry. As prevention measures are not often adopted there is an increasing risk of mercury poisoning. The disease has been under diagnosed even though 16 clinical forms of mercury poisoning are described by Brazilian regulations. Clinical diagnosis is important, especially because abnormalities in the central nervous, renal and immunological systems can be detected using current medical technology, helping to develop the knowledge and control measures for mercurialism.
Keywords : Mercury poisoning [prevention]; Occupational exposure; Neurotoxicology; Nephrotoxicology; Immunotoxicology; Neuropsychological tests.