Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Inhalation Minimal Risk Level (MRL):0.0002 mg/m3 (chronic)
NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH):10 mg Hg/m3
Exposure to mercury vapor may be a cause of Kawasaki disease (WHO/IPCS 1991).
Several accounts of death have been reported following acute mercury vapor exposure, and they have all been attributed to respiratory failure (ATSDR 1999).
Exposure to metallic mercury can result in decreased central auditory processing (Dutra et al. 2010).
Insulin resistance increases with blood mercury level, and individuals with higher blood mercury levels are at an increased risk for insulin resistance (Chang et al. 2011).
Color vision may be impaired following long-term exposure to mercury vapor (Feitosa-Santana et al. 2010).
Mercury alters the immune system and may play a role in autoimmune diseases (Gardner et al. 2010).
Exposure to mercury vapor has been shown to have a negative impact on the thymus gland, resulting in a significant reduction in thymulin hormone, possibly mediated through the nitric oxide pathway (Farahat et al. 2009).
The EPA reference concentration is based on hand tremor, increases in memory disturbance; slight subjective and objective evidence of autonomic dysfunction observed in workers at 0.025 mg/m3 (EPA 1995).
ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Mercury, all forms except alkyl. 2001.
ANSI: American National Standard Acceptable Concentrations of Inorganic Mercury and Non-Alkyl Organo Compounds. 1972.
Chang, J.W., Chen, H.L., Su, H.J., Liao, P.C., Guo, H.R., Lee, C.C.: Simultaneous exposure of non-diabetics to high levels of dioxins and mercury increases their risk of insulin resistance. J Hazard Mat. 185(2-3):749-55, January 30, 2011.
Dutra, M.D., Monteiro, M.C., Camara, Vde.M.: Evaluation of central auditory processing in adolescents exposed to metallic mercury. Pro Fono. 22(3):339-44, July-September 2010.
Farahat, S.A., Rashed, L.A., Zawilla, N.H., Farouk, S.M.: Effect of occupational exposure to elemental mercury in the amalgam on thymulin hormone production among dental staff. Toxicol Ind Health. 25(3):159-67, April 2009.
Gardner, R.M., Nyland J.F., Silva, I.A., de Souza, J.M., Silbergeld, E.K.: Mercury exposure, serum antinuclear/antinucleolar antibodies and serum cytokine levels in mining populations in Amazonian Brazil: A cross-sectional study. Environ Res. 110(4): 345-354, May 2010.
NIOSH/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cards - Mercury. April 22, 2004.
NIOSH: Occupational Health Guideline for Inorganic Mercury. 1978.
WHO/IPCS: Environmental Health Criteria 118 - Inorganic Mercury. pp. 13-21, 68-83, 1991. Fawer, R.F., U. DeRibaupierre, M.P. Guillemin, M. Berode and M. Lobe. 1983. Measurement of hand tremor induced by industrial exposure to metallic mercury. J. Ind. Med. 40: 204-208.
Piikivi, L. and U. Tolonen. 1989. EEG findings in chlor-alkali workers subjected to low long term exposure to mercury vapor. Br. J. Ind. Med. 46: 370-375.
Piikivi, L. and H. Hanninen. 1989. Subjective symptoms and psychological performance of chlorine-alkali workers. Scand. J. Work Environ. Health. 15: 69-74.
Piikivi, L. 1989. Cardiovascular reflexes and low long-term exposure to mercury vapor. Int. Arch. Occup. Environ. Health. 61: 391-395.
Ngim, C.H., S.C. Foo, K.W. Boey and J. Jeyaratnam. 1992. Chronic neurobehavioral effects of elemental mercury in dentists. Br. J. Ind. Med. 49: 782-790.
Liang, Y-X., R-K. Sun, Y. Sun, Z-Q. Chen and L-H. Li. 1993. Psychological effects of low exposure to mercury vapor: Application of a computer-administered neurobehavioral evaluation system. Environ. Res. 60: 320-327.
Date Last Revised: 12/11/2012
Monitoring Methods used by OSHA
Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
Hydrar or Hopcalite tube (200 mg) SKC brand with a prefilter/cassette
maximum volume: 96 Liters
minimum volume: 3 Liters
maximum flow rate: 0.2 L/min (TWA)
current analytical method: Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy; AAS/Cold vapor
note: A prefilter, consisting of a mixed cellulose ester filter in a polystyrene cassette, is used with the active sampler. The prefilter assembly should be connected to the sampling tube with the minimum amount of Tygon tubing necessary. The filter of the sampler will be analyzed separately and reported as (Aryl and Inorganic) (as Hg) IMIS Code M111 based on the collection of particulate Mercury. The Hydrar or Hopcalite sorbent material will be analyzed and reported as Mercury (Vapor) (as Hg) IMIS Code 1631. These two results could then be combined to evaluate the transitional limit of TWA total Mercury, 1 mg/10m3, (Vapor and particulate).
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