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Update: Hydrogen cyanamide--related illnesses - Italy, 2002-2004.
Settimi L; Marcello I; Davanzo F; Faraoni L; Miceli G; Richmond D; Calvert GM
MMWR 2005 Apr; 54(16):405-408
Hydrogen cyanamide (CAS No. 420-04-2) is used in agriculture as a plant growth regulator and is applied to many deciduous plants to stimulate uniform budbreak after dormancy, resulting in uniform flowering and maturity. Hydrogen cyanamide is highly toxic, and adverse health effects from contact include severe irritation and ulceration of the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. The substance also inhibits aldehyde dehydrogenase and can produce acetaldehyde syndrome (e.g., vomiting, parasympathetic hyperactivity, dyspnea, hypotension, and confusion) when exposure coincides with alcohol use. After Dormex (Degussa AG, Trostberg, Germany), a pesticide product containing hydrogen cyanamide (49% by weight), was introduced in Italy in 2000, a total of 23 cases of acute illness associated with exposure to this chemical were identified in early 2001. This led to a temporary suspension of sales and usage of Dormex on February 23, 2002, and strengthening of protective measures, as specified on the pesticide label when sales were resumed on June 20, 2003. This report describes 28 additional cases of hydrogen cyanamide-related illness that occurred during 2002-2004, 14 of which occurred after sales resumed. These illnesses suggest that the preventive measures adopted in Italy in 2003 to protect workers using hydrogen cyanamide are inadequate. Workers exposed to hydrogen cyanamide should be provided adequate information, training, personal protective equipment (PPE), and engineering controls.
Agricultural-chemicals; Agricultural-workers; Pesticides-and-agricultural-chemicals; Pesticides; Preventive-medicine; Surveillance-programs; Poison-control; Poisons; Spraying-equipment; Amides; Occupational-exposure; Personal-protective-equipment
Issue of Publication
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division