Acute illnesses associated with exposure to fipronil-surveillance data from 11 states in the United States, 2001-2007

Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226, USA.
Clinical Toxicology (Impact Factor: 3.67). 08/2010; 48(7):737-44. DOI: 10.3109/15563650.2010.507548
Source: PubMed


Fipronil is a broad-spectrum phenylpyrazole insecticide widely used to control residential pests and is also commonly used for flea and tick treatment on pets. It is a relatively new insecticide and few human toxicity data exist on fipronil.
This paper describes the magnitude and characteristics of acute illnesses associated with fipronil exposure.
Illness cases associated with exposure to fipronil-containing products from 2001 to 2007 were identified from the Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks (SENSOR)-Pesticides Program and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.
A total of 103 cases were identified in 11 states. Annual case counts increased from 5 in 2001 to 30 in 2007. Of the cases, 55% were female, the median age was 37 years, and 11% were <15 years old. The majority (76%) had exposure in a private residence, 37% involved the use of pet-care products, and 26% had work-related exposures. Most cases (89%) had mild, temporary health effects. Neurological symptoms (50%) such as headache, dizziness, and paresthesia were the most common, followed by ocular (44%), gastrointestinal (28%), respiratory (27%), and dermal (21%) symptoms/signs. Exposures usually occurred from inadvertent spray/splash/spill of products or inadequate ventilation of the treated area before re-entry.
Our findings indicate that exposure to fipronil can pose a risk for mild, temporary health effects in various body systems. Precautionary actions should be reinforced to prevent fipronil exposure to product users.

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