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Detection of green tobacco sickness by a regional poison center.
McKnight-RH; Levine-EJ; Rodgers-GC Jr.
Vet Hum Toxicol 1994 Dec; 36(6):505-510
The epidemiological patterns of green tobacco sickness (GTS) deduced from an analysis of poison center data were investigated. The records of the Kentucky Regional Poison Center (KRPC) were searched to identify all cases of GTS, a systemic poisoning caused by dermal contact with Nicotiana-tabacum, reported to the center from July 24 through September 24, 1991. The search investigated reports detailing poisoning from nicotine (54115) and chewing and smoking tobacco as well as from N-tabacum. A total of 104 tobacco related poisoning cases were reported to the KRPC during the study period. Seventy eight of these were GTS, of which 74 originated from N- tabacum. Sixty one GTS cases (78%) were males ranging in age from 10 to 58 years. Approximately half of all cases were 22 years or younger and 25% were aged 17 years or younger. Approximately 51.0% of the GTS reports originated from residences and 47.7% from health care facilities. The workplace was the major site of N-tabacum exposure. This was considered of doubtful significance as many tobacco farms in Kentucky were on the same property as a person's home. Notations on 26 reports (33.3%) indicated that at least one person in addition to the reported case also developed symptoms of GTS. Ten of these could be classified as clusters containing two to four persons. Picking or cutting tobacco in the field or hanging tobacco in a barn were the most frequent activities linked to exposure. Vomiting, nausea, weakness, and dizziness were the most frequently reported GTS symptoms. Most GTS cases were treated at a health care facility. The authors conclude that the study demonstrates the feasibility of using poison center data as a means for increasing understanding of GTS.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Tobacco-constituents; Plant-substances; Toxic-materials; Agricultural-workers; Epidemiology; Intoxication; Occupational-exposure; Information-systems; Poison-control
Issue of Publication
Veterinary and Human Toxicology
University of Kentucky, Department of Preventive Medicine, Lexington, KY
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division