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Fatal accident resulting from methyl bromide poisoning after fumigation of a neighbouring house; leakage through sewage pipes.

Research paper by S S Langård, T T Rognum, O O Fløtterød, V V Skaug

Indexed on: 01 Sep '96Published on: 01 Sep '96Published in: Journal of Applied Toxicology



Abstract

An intoxication after using methyl bromide (CH3Br) in fumigation is reported. The accident resulted in the death of a newborn infant within 12-13 h after exposure, as well as clinical intoxication of the infant's parents. The concentration of bromide ion in the infant's blood was 170 mg l-1 and in the parents blood it was 130 and 110 mg l-1. Autopsy showed that the cause of death was acute pneumonia due to aspiration, most likely resulting from vomiting and aspiration after inhalation of CH3Br. The clinical symptoms of the parents are reported, as well as a brief survey on the kinetics and CH3Br toxicity in animals and humans. Reconstruction of the events prior to the intoxication revealed that the sewage pipes serving the two houses had been sucked empty only 1-2 h prior to the start of fumigation, resulting in an open sewage connection between the houses and permitting CH3Br to leak from the treated house into the house of the affected family.