Mercury exposure among dental staff in the legal Amazon / Exposição a mercúrio entre profissionais da área odontológica na Amazônia legal

Fernanda Fresneda Villibor, Sabine Neusatz Guilhen, Elizabeth Sonoda Keiko Dantas, Maria Aparecida Faustino Pires

Abstract


Elemental mercury is highly toxic and may be absorbed by dental professionals through direct skin contact or inhalation. The use of mercury in dental amalgam has been a concern of the academic community for years, for its incorporation is likely to affect vital organ systems. Several studies have been conducted to address the possible risks of occupational exposure to mercury vapor in dental offices. The present study aimed to present evidences that mercury is assimilated by exposed workers through the determination of urinary mercury (HgU) from dental professionals (n = 91) of public offices in Araguaína (Tocantins, Brazil). This uptake was verified against samples from unexposed individuals (n = 43), which activities are not dentistry related. Cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry (CV-AAS) technique enabled the subjects’ biological monitoring. Approximately 44.8% (n = 60) of the 134 participants were aged between 21 and 30 years and were at the beginning of their professional lives; 9.7% (13) of the study participants were men and 90.3% (121) were women. Hg concentrations in all samples analyzed were within the maximum biological limit set by the World Health Organization (WHO) (<50 μgHg·L−1). HgU concentrations in dental professionals were within the limits proposed by the Brazilian regulatory standard, Regulatory Norm-7 (RN-7) (≤35 μgHg·g−1 creatinine). Nevertheless, the average concentration of HgU was approximately 8 times higher in the potentially exposed group (5.61 μgHg·g−1 creatinine) than in the unexposed group (0.65 μgHg·g−1 creatinine), highlighting the potential risk of occupational exposure to mercury.


Keywords


occupational exposure; mercury; CV-AAS; dentistry, validation.

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.34119/bjhrv2n4-025

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