Four methods of determining the concentration of mercury in human urine have been studied. A simple method suitable for general laboratory use is recommended and the requirements for accurate results are defined. The method employs mild oxidation with permanganate and HS2O4 followed by dithizone extraction and measurement of absorbance at 485 nm and 620 nm.
No mercury was detected in any of 74 urines from unexposed laboratory controls and hospital patients. A random urine sample seems adequate for the investigation of clinical or industrial mercury poisoning. Two individuals, free of symptoms, but subjected to moderate exposure, excreted 3·0-9·7 μg of mercury per 100 ml of urine.
After the administration of an organic mercurial to two volunteers, urinary excretion was rapid and virtually complete within 48 hours.
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