April 28, 2022

Draft Toxicological Profiles for Mercury, Other Chemicals Published

A new draft toxicological profile for mercury is now available for review and public comment from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. According to ATSDR, mercury is used in a number of industries, especially in the manufacture of electronics and fluorescent lighting. Mercury is also used in dental products such as fillings. Occupational exposures to mercury are of concern among industrial and dental workers, who are primarily exposed to elemental mercury, which is a silver liquid at room temperature that can evaporate into the air as a gas or become a solid at very low temperatures. ATSDR warns that mercury can affect the nervous system and the kidneys. The agency notes that workers exposed to elemental mercury vapor reported health effects such as tremors, incoordination, impaired vision, impaired learning and memory, and mood changes.

New draft toxicological profiles are also available for copper; the synthetic chemical nitrobenzene, which is used to produce other chemicals or to dissolve chemicals during manufacturing; and nitrophenols, which include three chemical compounds. Nitrophenols are manufactured and used in production of dyes, rubber, photographic chemicals, medicines, pesticides, and fungicides, ATSDR explains.

Comments on the draft profiles are due by July 26. More information on submitting comments is available in the Federal Register.

ATSDR toxicological profiles characterize the toxicology and adverse health effects information for hazardous substances. The peer-reviewed profiles identify and review the key literature describing substances’ toxicological properties. Information on substances’ potential for human exposure; chemical and physical properties; regulations and guidelines; and production, import, use, and disposal can also be found in ATSDR’s toxicological profiles. A full list of toxic substances with published profiles is available on the agency’s website.