The effect of occupational exposure to mercury vapour on the fertility of female dental assistants
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Occup Environ Med. 1994 Jan; 51(1): 28–34.
The effect of occupational exposure to mercury vapour on the fertility of female dental assistants.
A S Rowland, D D Baird, C R Weinberg, D L Shore, C M Shy, and A J Wilcox
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See letter "The effect of occupational exposure to mercury vapour on the fertility of female dental assistants." in volume 52 on page 214.
Exposure to mercury vapour or inorganic mercury compounds can impair fertility in laboratory animals. To study the effects of mercury vapour on fertility in women, eligibility questionnaires were sent to 7000 registered dental assistants in California.
The final eligible sample of 418 women, who had become pregnant during the previous four years, were interviewed by telephone. Detailed information was collected on mercury handling practices and the number of menstrual cycles without contraception it had taken them to become pregnant. Dental assistants not working with amalgam served as unexposed controls.
Women with high occupational exposure to mercury were less fertile than unexposed controls. The fecundability (probability of conception each menstrual cycle) of women who prepared 30 or more amalgams per week and who had five or more poor mercury hygiene factors was only 63% of that for unexposed women (95% CI 42%-96%) after controlling for covariates.
Women with low exposure were more fertile, however, than unexposed controls. Possible explanations for the U shaped dose response and limitations of the exposure measure are discussed. Further investigation is needed that uses biological measures of mercury exposure.