Cases reported "Mercury Poisoning"

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1/66. Mercury toxicity due to the smelting of placer gold recovered by mercury amalgam.

    A 19-year-old man developed tremor in both hands and fatigue after starting work at a placer gold mine where he was exposed to mercury-gold amalgam. Examination revealed an intention tremor, dysdiadochokinesis and mild rigidity. The 24-h urinary mercury concentration reached a peak of 715 nmol/l (143 ug/l) shortly before the clinical examination, after which he was removed from working in the gold room [Mercury No. Adverse Effect Level: 250 nmol/l (50 ug/l)]. On review 7 weeks later his tremor had almost resolved and the dysdiadochokinesis and rigidity had gone. The 24-h urinary mercury concentration had fallen to 160 nmol/l (32 ug/l). The principal exposure to mercury was considered to be the smelting of retorted gold with previously unrecognized residual mercury in it. The peak air concentration of mercury vapour during gold smelting was 0.533 mg/m3 (Mercury Vapour ACGIH TLV: 0.05 mg/m3 TWA). Several engineering and procedural controls were instituted. This episode occurred at another mine site, unrelated to Mount Isa Mines Limited.
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2/66. Mercury intoxication presenting with hypertension and tachycardia.

    An 11 year old girl presented with hypertension and tachycardia. Excess urinary catecholamine excretion suggested phaeochromocytoma but imaging studies failed to demonstrate a tumour. Other symptoms included insomnia and weight loss, and she was found to have a raised concentration of mercury in blood and urine. Mercury intoxication should be considered in the differential diagnosis of hypertension with tachycardia even in patients presenting without the skin lesions typical of mercury intoxication and without a history of exposure.
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3/66. An assessment of exposure to mercury and mercuric chloride from handling treated herbarium plants.

    A curator at a university herbarium reported headache, nausea and mucosal irritation after initiating a project to remount plant specimens treated with mercuric chloride. workplace exposure assessment indicated potential for mercury compound ingestion through hand-to-mouth contact. Blood, hair and urine assays were negative.
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4/66. Mercury contamination of heavy metal collection containers.

    We investigated discordant urinary mercury testing results from 2 patients with potential mercury exposures. Two patients had mercury levels of 634 and > 1,000 micrograms/L respectively. Although repeat 24 h urine mercury levels were elevated, spot urines were negative. Investigation revealed that technical HCl with high mercury content had been added to the 24 h urine collection containers. Subsequently, 20 hospitals were contacted to determine their heavy metals testing procedure and to analyze the acid used for mercury. Most hospitals contacted used acid in the preparation of their urine heavy metal collection containers. Of 13 HCl samples tested, 5 had low levels of mercury and 1 had heavy mercury content. Acid added to heavy metal collection containers should be of high purity grade to avoid mercury contamination of samples.
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5/66. Mercury intoxication and arterial hypertension: report of two patients and review of the literature.

    Two children in the same household with symptomatic arterial hypertension simulating pheochromocytoma were found to be intoxicated with elemental mercury. The first child was a 4-year-old boy who presented with new-onset seizures, rash, and painful extremities, who was found to have a blood pressure of 171/123 mm Hg. An extensive investigation ensued. Elevated catecholamines were demonstrated in plasma and urine; studies did not confirm pheochromocytoma. Mercury levels were elevated. These findings prompted an evaluation of the family. A foster sister had similar findings of rash and hypertension. Both had been exposed to elemental mercury in the home. The family was temporarily relocated and chelation therapy was started. A medline search for mercury intoxication with hypertension found 6 reports of patients ranging from 11 months to 17 years old. All patients showed symptoms of acrodynia. Because of the clinical presentation and the finding of elevated catecholamines, most of the patients were first studied for possible pheochromocytoma. Subsequently, elevated levels of mercury were found. Three children had contact with elemental mercury from a broken thermometer, 2 had played with metallic mercury and 1 had poorly protected occupational exposure. All responded to chelation therapy. Severe systemic arterial hypertension in infants and children is usually secondary to an underlying disease process. The most frequent causes of hypertension in this group include renal parenchymal disease, obstructive uropathy, and chronic pyelonephritis associated with reflux and renal artery stenosis. Less frequent causes include adrenal tumors, pheochromocytomas, neurofibromas, and a number of familial forms of hypertension. Other causes include therapeutic and recreational drugs, notably sympathomimetics and cocaine, and rarely, heavy metals. In children with severe hypertension and elevated catecholamines, the physician should consider mercury intoxication as well as pheochromocytoma. The health hazards of heavy metals need to be reinforced to the medical profession and the general public.
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6/66. Mercury contamination incident.

    BACKGROUND: The aim of this paper is to describe an incident where elemental mercury led to widespread contamination and the exposure of 225 individuals and confirmed toxicity in 19 individuals. The paper describes the incident and difficulties found in trying to assess the risk to individuals and to identify and decontaminate the residences involved. methods: All individuals exposed to elemental mercury in the incident were followed up for 15 months. RESULTS: Thirty-seven individuals were found to be 'at risk' and 13 were symptomatic of mercury poisoning. Five patients required chelation therapy. The incident was closed when the risk of poisoning and re-exposure was minimized. CONCLUSION: Incident management depends on early effective communication and collaboration between all agencies involved.
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7/66. Assessing elemental mercury vapor exposure from cultural and religious practices.

    Use of elemental mercury in certain cultural and religious practices can cause high exposures to mercury vapor. Uses include sprinkling mercury on the floor of a home or car, burning it in a candle, and mixing it with perfume. Some uses can produce indoor air mercury concentrations one or two orders of magnitude above occupational exposure limits. Exposures resulting from other uses, such as infrequent use of a small bead of mercury, could be well below currently recognized risk levels. Metallic mercury is available at almost all of the 15 botanicas visited in new york, new jersey, and pennsylvania, but botanica personnel often deny having mercury for sale when approached by outsiders to these religious and cultural traditions. Actions by public health authorities have driven the mercury trade underground in some locations. Interviews indicate that mercury users are aware that mercury is hazardous, but are not aware of the inhalation exposure risk. We argue against a crackdown by health authorities because it could drive the practices further underground, because high-risk practices may be rare, and because uninformed government intervention could have unfortunate political and civic side effects for some Caribbean and Latin American immigrant groups. We recommend an outreach and education program involving religious and community leaders, botanica personnel, and other mercury users.
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8/66. Intoxication with 100 grams of mercury: a case report and importance of supportive therapy.

    Nearly everyone is at risk of acute and chronic toxic exposure to hazardous substances in the ambient environment. morbidity and mortality following an overdose are reduced by intensive appropriate supportive therapy. A well-trained medical team is required for the administration of intensive clinical care, which includes enough equipment for monitoring the patient's status. In this paper we present a student who, after attending a dentist faculty, ingested 100 grams of pure inorganic mercury in order to commit suicide and was treated with forced diuresis, whole bowel irrigation, and D-penicillamine. The latter was found following 48 hours of therapy and only used for 4 days because of lack of availability of other antidotes for mercury in our city.
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9/66. Elemental mercury poisoning in a family of seven.

    mercury poisoning in children is rare but may have devastating health consequences when exposure is unrecognized. Mercury occurs in three forms: elemental, inorganic, and organic. Elemental mercury (Hg(0)) vapor may become volatile following an accidental spill and may be readily absorbed from the lungs. The following case study describes how the poison center, health department, physicians, and others worked together to treat a family with long-term exposure to elemental mercury vapor in the home. Identification and prevention of this type of exposure in the community are discussed.
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10/66. Intravenous mercury injection and ingestion: clinical manifestations and management.

    BACKGROUND: Mercury is a complex toxin with clinical manifestations determined by the chemical form, route, dose, and acuity of the exposure. Parenteral injection of elemental mercury remains uncommon. CASE REPORT: A 40-year-old male injected 3 mL of elemental mercury intravenously and ingested 3 mL as a suicide attempt. Within 24 hours, he became dyspneic, febrile, tachycardic, and voiced mild gastrointestinal complaints. Chest X-ray revealed scattered pulmonary infiltrates and embolized mercury bilaterally. A ventilation/perfusion scan demonstrated ventilation/ perfusion deficits. Additionally, his renal function declined, as manifest by minor elevations in blood urea nitrogen and creatinine and decreased urine output. Pulmonary therapy, intravenous hydration, and chelation using 2,3-dimercaptoscuccinic acid (DMSA/succimer) were started. Over the next 36 hours, the patient's pulmonary and renal functions improved. temperature and heart rate subsequently normalized, and symptoms at discharge were mild exertional dyspnea. DISCUSSION: Liquid mercury injected intravenously embolizes to the pulmonary vasculature and perhaps vessels in other organs such as heart and kidney. In-situ oxidation to inorganic mercury, which is directly toxic to a variety of tissues, may help explain the multisystem involvement. CONCLUSION: Significant pulmonary dysfunction accompanied by radiographically demonstrated mercury emboli and temporary abnormalities in several organs improved shortly after initiation of chelation. The impact of chelation on long-term outcome of parenteral mercury exposure remains uncharacterized.
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