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J Occup Environ Med. 1996 Oct;38(10):1018-25.

Effects of a hydrochloric acid spill on neurobehavioral and pulmonary function.

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Environmental Sciences Laboratory, University of Southern California, School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90033, USA.


A container truck leaked 800 L (200 gallons) of hydrochloric acid (HCl) near a mobile home park in Louisiana in August 1993. The investigating officer and residents became acutely ill with burning and tearing eyes, burning throats, headache, chest pain, shortness of breath, and flu-like complaints. Twenty months later, 45 exposed adult subjects and 56 age-matched referents underwent neurobehavioral testing, including balance, reaction time, blink-reflex latency, and spirometry. They also completed health questionnaires and a profile of mood states. The exposed subjects differed significantly from referents by t test and by covariance analysis for balance, simple and two-choice visual reaction time, digit symbol, and for placing pegs in a pegboard. Proximity to the HCl spill increased sway speeds and impaired pulmonary midflow rates. Chronic neurobehavioral dysfunction and airways obstruction were found after environmental HCl exposure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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