Ann Occup Environ Med.  2019 ;31(1):e9. 10.35371/aoem.2019.31.e9.

A case of acute organic solvent poisoning during epoxy coating

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, College of Medicine, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea. inahkim@hanyang.ac.kr
  • 2Korea Occupational Safety & Health Agency, Ulsan, Korea.
  • 3Occupational Safety & Health Research Institute, Ulsan, Korea.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
In the construction industry, maintaining health and safety of workers often challenging. Among the workers at construction sites, painters are at particular risk of respiratory diseases and neurotoxicity. However, in Korea there is weak enforcement of workers' health and safety practices in the construction industry in Korea. Poisonings frequently occur at (semi)closed construction sites. In this study, we report a case of acute organic solvent poisoning during construction site painting. CASE PRESENTATION: A 71-year-old man was found unconscious at a construction site and immediately transferred to the emergency room. The consciousness level was 'stupor state' and the body temperature was hypothermic, at 32 degrees (Celsius). There were no acute brain or cardiac lesions that would have accounted for the faintness. In addition, blood and urine tests did not indicate a cause of loss of consciousness. He had been painting epoxy to waterproof the basement floor before fainting. According to exposure simulation, the patient was overexposed to various organic solvents, such as approximately 316-624 ppm toluene during the work before fainting. Considering the ventilation status of the workplace and the status of no protection, it is considered that exposure through the respiratory tract was considerable.
CONCLUSIONS
The patient in this case lost consciousness during the epoxy coating in a semi-enclosed space. It can be judged as a result of acute poisoning caused by organic solvent exposure and considered to be highly related to work environment.

Keyword

Occupational diseases; Organic solvent; Poisoning; Construction industry; Epoxy
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