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Personality traits in miners with past occupational elemental mercury exposure.

  • Academic Journal
  • Kobal Grum D; Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
    Kobal AB
    Arneric N
    Horvat M
    Zenko B
    Dzeroski S
    Osredkar J
  • Environmental health perspectives [Environ Health Perspect] 2006 Feb; Vol. 114 (2), pp. 290-6.
  • English
  • In this study, we evaluated the impact of long-term occupational exposure to elemental mercury vapor (Hg0) on the personality traits of ex-mercury miners. Study groups included 53 ex-miners previously exposed to Hg0 and 53 age-matched controls. Miners and controls completed the self-reporting Eysenck Personality Questionnaire and the Emotional States Questionnaire. The relationship between the indices of past occupational exposure and the observed personality traits was evaluated using Pearson's correlation coefficient and on a subgroup level by machine learning methods (regression trees). The ex-mercury miners were intermittently exposed to Hg0 for a period of 7-31 years. The means of exposure-cycle urine mercury (U-Hg) concentrations ranged from 20 to 120 microg/L. The results obtained indicate that ex-miners tend to be more introverted and sincere, more depressive, more rigid in expressing their emotions and are likely to have more negative self-concepts than controls, but no correlations were found with the indices of past occupational exposure. Despite certain limitations, results obtained by the regression tree suggest that higher alcohol consumption per se and long-term intermittent, moderate exposure to Hg0 (exposure cycle mean U-Hg concentrations > 38.7 < 53.5 microg/L) in interaction with alcohol remain a plausible explanation for the depression associated with negative self-concept found in subgroups of ex-mercury miners. This could be one of the reason for the higher risk of suicide among miners of the Idrija Mercury Mine in the last 45 years.
Additional Information
Publisher: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Country of Publication: United States NLM ID: 0330411 Publication Model: Print Cited Medium: Print ISSN: 0091-6765 (Print) Linking ISSN: 00916765 NLM ISO Abbreviation: Environ Health Perspect Subsets: MEDLINE
Original Publication: Research Triangle Park, N. C. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
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FXS1BY2PGL (Mercury)
Date Created: 20060203 Date Completed: 20060503 Latest Revision: 20181113