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Ohlander, Johan; Huber, Stella Maria; Schomaker, Michael; Heumann, Christian; Schierl, Rudolf; Michalke, Bernhard; Jenni, Oskar G.; Caflisch, Jon; Moraga Muñoz, Daniel; Ehrenstein, Ondine S. von; Radon, Katja (2016): Mercury and neuromotor function among children in a rural town in Chile. In: International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health, Vol. 22, No. 1: pp. 27-35
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Background: Mercury (Hg) exposure from artisanal gold mining has adverse effects on the neuromotor function in adults. However, few studies have examined this relationship in children. O Objectives: To investigate the impact of Hg exposure on children's neuromotor function. Methods: Cross-sectional data on Hg risk factors and demographics were collected from n = 288 children (response = 68.9%). Based on complete cases (CCs) (n = 130) and multiple imputations (n = 288), associations between fingernail Hg and four different neuromotor function components were calculated using multiple logistic regression adjusted for confounders. Results: Of the children, 11.1, 14.9, 63.9, and 10.4% had pathologic pure motor skills, adaptive fine motor skills, adaptive gross motor skills, and static balance, respectively. No significant association between fingernail Hg and any neuromotor component was found. However, Hg burning in the household was significantly associated with children's pathologic pure motor skills (OR 3.07 95% CI 1.03-9.18). Conclusion: Elemental Hg exposure in the household might have adverse long-term effects on children's pure motor skills.