UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Toxicology

Title: Occupational poisoning in the US

Keywords: occupational poisoning (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/18/2021 by Hong Kim, MD, MPH (Updated: 10/20/2021)
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There are different occupational hazards depending on the nature of one’s trade/skill/employment. Although healthcare providers may not always inquire about patient’s occupation, knowledge of a patient’s occupation may provide insightful information when caring for patients with acute poisoning.

From a recent retrospective study of National Poison Data System, the top 10 occupational toxicants were:

  1. Caustics (acids & alkalis)
  2. Chlorines/hypochlorites
  3. Carbon monoxide
  4. Hydrocarbons
  5. Cleansers/detergents
  6. Ammonia
  7. Cement
  8. Hydrofluoric acid
  9. Disinfectants
  10. Hydrogen sulfide

 

Top 10 occupational toxicants associated with fatalities were:

  1. Hydrogen sulfide
  2. Ammonia
  3. Carbon Monoxide
  4. Simple asphyxiants
  5. Chlorine/hypochlorites
  6. Alkalis
  7. Pyrethrins/pyrethroids
  8. Toluene/xylene
  9. Methane
  10. Methylene chloride 

References

Downs JW et al. Descriptive epidemiology of clincally signifcant occupational poisonings, United States, 2008-2018. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2021. PMID: 33703981