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December 1, 1989

Organophosphate Poisoning From Wearing a Laundered Uniform Previously Contaminated With Parathion

JAMA. 1989;262(21):3035-3036. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430210077034

THE ORGANOPHOSPHATE pesticides came into widespread use because they do not persist in the area of application as do organochlorine pesticides such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), which have, to a large extent, been banned in this country. However, the organophosphate compounds are much more toxic acutely to humans, and it is not generally appreciated that organophosphate insecticides may persist for long periods in contaminated clothing or when left in their original containers in small amounts. We recently cared for three patients who worked in the same manufacturing plant, where they developed organophosphate poisoning owing to residual parathion in clothing that remained heavily contaminated despite repeated laundering.

Report of Cases 

Case 1. —  A 25-year-old pesticide formulator was admitted to the hospital because of nausea, vomiting, weakness, and sweating. He was well until 4 days before admission, when he accidentally spilled a 76% solution of parathion on his inguinal and scrotal areas,