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J Occup Health year 1997 volume 39 number 2 page 138 - 143
Classification Original
Title An Outbreak of Hematopoietic and Reproductive Disorders Due to Solvents Containing 2-Bromopropane in an Electronic Factory, South Korea: Epidemiological Survey
Author Jung-Sun Park, Yangho Kim, Dong Wook Park, Kyeong Sook Choi, Seung-Hyun Park and Young-Hahn Moon
Organization Industrial Health Research Institute, Korea Industrial Safety Corporation (KISCO)
Keywords Anemia, Azoospermia, Oligospermia, Amenorrhea
Correspondence
Abstract An Outbreak of Hematopoietic and Reproductive Disorders Due to Solvents Containing 2-Bromopropane in an Electronic Factory, South Korea: Epidemiological Survey: Jung-Sun Park, et al. Industrial Health Research Institute, Korea Industrial Safety Corporation (KISCO)-Objectives: This survey was conducted to identify the causative agent in the outbreak in an electronic factory in Korea. Methods: The questionnaire administered to subjects consisted of questions regarding medical and occupational history, including current work practices. Employees were also examined for liver, kidney, brain, reproductive organ and bone marrow function, etc. Detailed investigation of industrial hygiene was conducted to identify the potential source of occupational exposure. Results: Among the three subject groups, all 23 intoxication cases (6 males and 17 females) were found in the only section using a new cleaning solution, the Tactile Switch Assembly Operation (total workers: 8 males and 25 females). Abnormal findings in the cases were only hypofunctions of the reproductive organs (ovarian failure, azoospermia or oligospermia) and the bone marrow (pancytopenia). 2-bromopropane is the main component in the cleaning solution (97.4%). Until late November, 1994, workers were exposed to the cleaning solution directly without using proper protective equipment. The solvent was changed from Freon 113 to the above mixture solution in February, 1994. There has been no case among workers who quit before February, 1994. Freon 113 can therefore be excluded as a possible causative agent in the outbreak. Conclusions: The outbreak in the section of Tactile Switch Assembly Operation was caused by exposure to the new cleaning solution. The causative agent is most likely to be 2-bromopropane.