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Mercury intoxication resulting from school barometers in three unrelated adolescents


Three adolescents with severe hypertension due to mercury intoxication are presented. Two of them had skin rash, signs and symptoms of central nervous system involvement, peripheral neuropathy and mild-to-moderate proteinuria in addition to hypertension. All three patients had a history of exposure to mercury, the source being broken barometers taken from school laboratories 2–4 months previously. Urine and blood mercury levels were consistent with mercury intoxication. The patients were treated with chelation therapy. One of them died; the others recovered over a period of 1–4 months. Conclusion:mercury intoxication should be considered in any child with signs and symptoms of hypertension, skin rash, peripheral neuropathy and behavioural changes. The parents and school administrators, as well as paediatricians, should be aware of the potential risks of mercury and should be encouraged to avoid mercury-containing devices in schools and households.

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Correspondence to Mustafa Koyun.

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Koyun, M., Akman, S. & Güven, A.G. Mercury intoxication resulting from school barometers in three unrelated adolescents. Eur J Pediatr 163, 131–134 (2004).

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  • Adolescent
  • Barometer
  • Intoxication
  • Mercury