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Two cases of methyl alcohol intoxication by sub-chronic inhalation and dermal exposure


Background Methyl alcohol poisoning has been mainly reported in community. Two cases of methyl alcohol poisoning occurred in a small-sized subcontracted factory which manufactured smartphone parts in Korea. Case presentation One young female patient presented with dyspnea and visual disturbance. Another young male patient presented with visual disturbance and myalgia. They treated with sodium bicarbonate infusion and hemodialysis for metabolic acidosis. In addition, he received ethyl alcohol per oral treatment. Her and his urinary methyl alcohol concentration was detected as 7.632 mg/L, 46.8 mg/L, respectively, although they were treated hemodialysis. Results of the working environment measurement showed that the concentration of methyl alcohol (1030.1–2220.5 ppm) in the air exceeded the time weighted average (200 ppm). They were diagnosed with optic neuropathy due to methyl alcohol poisoning and still have visual impairment. Conclusions Workers who hired as dispatched employees in a small-sized subcontracted factory were exposed to high concentrations of methyl alcohol. The workplace had poor ventilation system. In addition, workers did not wear proper personal protect equipment. Working environment measurement and annual chekups for workers were not performed. They were in a blind spot to occupational safety and health. More attention is needed to protect vulnerable workers’ health.

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