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Neurotoxic illness in the grain industry: index cases of fumigant Parkinsonism.

Chapman LJ; Henning RH; Sauter SL; Levine RL; Matthews CG; Peters HA; Reddan WG; Pico GA
Agricultural health and safety: workplace, environment, sustainability, supplement. McDuffie HH, Dosman JA, Semchuk KM, Olenchock SA, Senthilselvan A, eds. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada: University of Saskatchewan, 1994 Oct; :111-122
The results of studies examining neurological disorders in grain workers were summarized. The study group consisted of 22 active and 14 former grain industry workers who had concerns about personal health and work history. All had used carbon-disulfide (75150) based solvents as fumigants. Eighteen subjects smoked cigarettes. Reported alcohol use was low to moderate, averaging less than 1 ounce daily. In the first, 12 subjects completed a neurological symptom questionnaire. The subjects reported a high prevalence of memory, mood, and motor problems. In the second study, 21 subjects were given clinical neurological examinations. The subjects had a high prevalence of abnormal locomotor signs and symptoms. Specific symptoms indicative of Parkinson's Disease (PD) were detected in 48 to 80% of the subjects. The clinical findings generally resembled those seen previously in workers exposed to carbon-disulfide. In the third study, 19 subjects underwent neuropsychological testing. The subjects demonstrated a range of cognitive and motor symptoms that could distinguish them from patients hospitalized for nonneurologic diseases and PD patients. In the fourth study, tremor measurements were made on 19 subjects; 47% of the grainworkers had overt tremors and 27% had more subtle signs of tremors. In the fifth study, nine subjects were evaluated on a battery of neuromotor tests. The grainworkers had abnormal scores on tests of visual contrast sensitivity, simple reaction time, and frontal body sway. The authors conclude that the health effects of carbon-disulfide exposure may resemble those of major long term latency neurodegenerative diseases such as PD, motor neuron disease, or dementia.
Pesticides; Occupational-exposure; Sulfides; Agricultural-chemicals; Grain-elevator-workers; Neurological-diseases; Clinical-symptoms; Neurotoxicity; Behavioral-testing; Epidemiology; Humans
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
McDuffie HH; Dosman JA; Semchuk KM; Olenchock SA; Senthilselvan A
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Agricultural health and safety: workplace, environment, sustainability, supplement
Page last reviewed: March 4, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division