Reactive gaseous mercury is generated from chloralkali factories resulting in extreme concentrations of mercury in hair of workers

Abdelkarem A. S. Elgazali, Zuzana Gajdosechova, Zaigham Abbas, Enzo Lombi, Kirk G. Scheckel, Erica Donner, Heidelore Fiedler, Joerg Feldmann, Eva M. Krupp

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Abstract

Occupational exposure of chloralkali workers to highly concentrated mercury (Hg) vapour has been linked to an increased risk of renal dysfunction and behavioural changes. It is generally believed that these workers are exposed to elemental Hg, which is used in abundance during the production process
however, the lack in analytical techniques that would allow for identifcation of gaseous Hg species poses a challenge, which needs to be addressed in order to reach a consensus. Here, we present the results from simulated exposure studies, which provide sound evidence of higher adsorption rate of HgCl2 than Hg0 and its irreversible bonding on the surface of hair. We found that chloralkali workers were exposed to HgCl2, which accumulated in extremely high concentrations on the hair surface, more than 1,000 times higher than expected from unexposed subjects and was positively correlated with Hg levels in the fnger- and toenails.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3675
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
Early online date27 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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    Elgazali, A. A. S., Gajdosechova, Z., Abbas, Z., Lombi, E., Scheckel, K. G., Donner, E., Fiedler, H., Feldmann, J., & Krupp, E. M. (2018). Reactive gaseous mercury is generated from chloralkali factories resulting in extreme concentrations of mercury in hair of workers. Scientific Reports, 8, 1-11. [3675]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-20544-5