Friday, January 29, 2010

Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and Occupational Exposure to Chemicals

Human Exposure Assessment and Relief From Neuropsychiatric Symptoms: Case Study of a
Stephen J. Genuis, MD, FRCSC, DABOG and Shelagh K. Genuis, BScOT, MLIS
From the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (SJG), University of Alberta, Canada (SKG)
Correspondence: Address correspondence to Dr. Stephen Genuis, 2935–66 Street, Edmonton Alberta, Canada T6K 4C1 (E-mail:

Human exposure assessment and the results of implementing ‘precautionary avoidance’ suggested a relationship between a hairdresser’s neuropsychiatric symptoms and occupational exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals. A variety of investigations in response to patient complaints of depression, emotional instability and various physical symptoms revealed no objective abnormality; the CH2OPD2 mnemonic (community, home, hobbies, occupation, personal habits, diet and drugs) recommended by the Ontario College of Family Physicians was used as a first-line screening tool to assess potential environmental exposure to toxins. After occupational leave of absence, the patient reported cessation of symptoms. Environmental causes for familiar medical problems are frequently undiagnosed; it is recommended that, where appropriate, a screening tool for evaluation of environmental exposure to toxics be incorporated into primary care assessment and management of patients.

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