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Familial clusters of green tobacco sickness.
McKnight-RH; Koetke-CA; Donnelly-C
J Agromed 1996 Jun; 3(2):51-59
Familial clusters of green tobacco sickness were identified from reports made to the Kentucky Regional Poison Center over the period 1991 through 1994. The first occurred with a 35 year old father and his 11 and 14 year old sons who cut tobacco in the field all day, and stopped at 4pm after becoming ill. The father and younger son arrived at the emergency room at 7pm and both were given an antiemetic; the father also was treated for dehydration. By noon the following day all three were asymptomatic. The second cluster involved a 34 year old mother, her 15 and 16 year old sons and her 13 year old daughter who cut wet tobacco in the field before noon. All afternoon they vomited and all but the 15 year old son were weak and dizzy. They contacted the poison control center at 7pm that evening and were advised to change clothes and shower immediately. By 10pm vomiting had decreased and all were feeling much better. The third cluster involved five persons working in wet tobacco including a 19 year old man, his 35 year old wife, her mother, the man's 15 year old cousin, and an inlaw. All had become ill. Clustering of green tobacco sickness in Kentucky is the result of the work process needed to grow burley tobacco (considerably increased dermal contact is required in growing burley tobacco) and the high nicotine (54115) content of burley. The most significant factor influencing the clusters relates to the work roles of family members on tobacco farms. In Kentucky the typical tobacco farm is still family owned and grows only 2.3 acres of tobacco per year.
NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Risk-factors; Epidemiology; Farmers; Agricultural-workers; Skin-exposure; Occupational-exposure; Work-practices
Issue of Publication
Journal of Agromedicine
University of Kentucky, Department of Preventive Medicine, Lexington, KY
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division