Fumigant-related illnesses: Washington State's five-year experience

Jefferey L. Burgess, Barbara Morrissey, Matthew C. Keifer, William O. Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Objective: Exposure to fumigants may have severe or persistent health effects. Washington State's fumigant-related illnesses were reviewed to better understand the circumstances surrounding exposure and resultant health effects. Methods: Fumigant-related illnesses reported to and investigated by the Washington State Department of Health were reviewed. Illnesses considered by Department of Health to be definitely, probably, or possibly related to pesticide exposure were then analyzed. Results: From 1992-1996, 39 (3.3%) of 1192 definite, probable, or possible cases of pesticide-related illnesses involved exposures to fumigants. Fumigant exposures during this period were to aluminum phosphide (15), methyl bromide (12), metam-sodium (9), and zinc phosphide (3). Symptoms included respiratory problems and eye and/or skin irritation for the majority of exposures, and no deaths were reported. The nature of exposure for these cases included exposure to applicators (17), reentry into a fumigated structure (9), improper storage or disposal (6), reentry into treated agricultural fields (4), drift from treated fields (2), and other (1). Conclusions: Review of fumigant exposures should be used to prevent future events through continued enforcement of established regulations and training of applicators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-14
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Toxicology - Clinical Toxicology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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