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Neurologic dysfunction from exposure to 2-t-butylazo-2-hydroxy-5-methylhexane (BHMH): a new occupational neuropathy.

Horan-JM; Kurt-TL; Landrigan-PJ; Melius-JM; Singal-M
Am J Publ Health 1985 May; 75(5):513-517
Case histories of seven patients exposed to 2-t-butylazo-2-hydroxy-5- methylhexane (BHMH) while employed in a small plastics manufacturing facility were examined. A case was defined as a previously healthy person, exposed to BHMH, who developed peripheral neuropathy, imparied memory or concentration, and visual disturbances. All cases were in workers exposed directly to BHMH. Information was obtained from each worker on job history, extra occupational exposures, and use of personal protective equipment. Patients with evidence of motor or sensory deficits were evaluated electromyographically and ophthalmologically. To determine etiology, examinations were performed 5 to 6 months after exposure to BHMH was discontinued. Seven of 18 workers had histories of illness that fulfilled the case definition. All seven had evidence of neurologic impairment. Three had abnormal electromyograms and four had abnormal nerve conduction outcomes. Epidemiologic evaluation indicated that onset of symptoms in all seven cases occurred during the 6 months in which the facility had used BHMH. No cases developed before or after that period. The incidence of new cases was observed to decline as effective protective equipment was employed. The authors conclude that BHMH was the agent responsible for the outbreak of neurologic disease in workers at the facility. BHMH may have been responsible also for episodes of neurologic dysfunction in workers exposed to the compound in two other facilities.
NIOSH-Author; Aliphatic-hydrocarbons; Nervous-system; Quantitative-analysis; Workers; Neurotoxins; Neuropathology; Neurotoxicity; Occupational-hazards; Work-analysis; Humans; Work-operations
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American Journal of Public Health