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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-92-403-2329, Kentucky Cabinet for Human Resources, Frankfort, Kentucky.
Ballard TJ; Ehlers JK; Weber AM; Methner MM
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 92-403-2329, 1993 Jun; :1-20
In response to a report filed by an occupational nurse in Bowling Green, Kentucky noting the occurrence of 31 cases of green tobacco sickness (GTS) among tobacco harvesters, an investigation was made into possible hazardous conditions at tobacco farms (SIC-0132). Work practices at two farms were observed during harvesting. Workers began picking early in the morning when the leaves were wet from dew. Workers were observed to determine which areas of the body are most likely to come in contact with the plants and thereby absorb nicotine (54115) through the skin. The hands, forearms, thighs, and back were the most likely areas to be contacted. A case/control study evaluated possible risk factors for green tobacco sickness. A questionnaire was administered to 40 cases and 83 controls. Cases were more likely than unaffected workers to have worn clothing soaked from wet tobacco, and were more likely to be young. The authors conclude that wet clothing from exposure to moisture on leaves and young age are risk factors for green tobacco sickness. The authors recommend specific measures to reduce exposure to the plants while they are wet and for educating farm workers, owners and supervisors to the dangers of such exposures.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-92-403-2329; Hazard-Confirmed; Region-4; Agricultural-workers; Plant-substances; Skin-exposure; Tobacco-industry; Toxic-effects; Occupational-exposure; Author Keywords: Field Crops, Tobacco; Green Tobacco Sickness; Illness; Nicotine Poisoning; Tobacco Harvester
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division