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Med J Aust. 1983 Apr 16;1(8):378-80.

Asthmatic reactions to a commonly used aerosol insect killer.


Seven patients with asthma and a history of chest tightness on exposure to aerosol insecticide sprays were studied. Under controlled conditions, objective measures of airways narrowing were taken before and after exposure to an aerosol insect killer (Mortein Pressure Pak). Chest tightness described as asthma was produced in all seven subjects, but only one showed a greater than 20% fall in FEV1, compared to baseline values. A further two subjects showed small changes in the maximum mid-expiratory flow rate. No changes were observed in the subjects' sensitivity to inhaled histamine before, and 24 hours after, exposure to the insecticide. Thus, exposure to a commonly used household insecticide spray produced marked symptoms in all subjects, but objective evidence of airways obstruction was present in only three, and no changes in bronchial reactivity to inhaled histamine occurred in any of the subjects.

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