Evaluation of acute sensory--motor effects and test sensitivity using termiticide workers exposed to chlorpyrifos

Neurotoxicol Teratol. Jul-Aug 2001;23(4):381-93. doi: 10.1016/s0892-0362(01)00143-x.


Sensory and motor testing was performed on a group of termiticide workers primarily using chlorpyrifos-containing products to evaluate both the acute effects from current exposure and sensitivity of the measures to detect effects. The study group comprised 106 applicators and 52 nonexposed participants. Current exposure was measured by urinary concentrations of 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCP) collected the morning of testing. The mean TCP value for the 106 applicators was 200 microg/g creatinine. Participants received 4--5 h of testing and were evaluated using a sensory--motor test battery recommended by a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-sponsored advisory panel to be appropriate for testing effects from pesticide exposures. Measurements testing olfactory dysfunction, visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, color vision, vibrotactile sensitivity, tremor, manual dexterity, eye--hand coordination, and postural stability were analyzed. Study results indicated limited acute effects from exposure to chlorpyrifos using urinary TCP as a measure of current exposure. The effects occurred primarily on measures of postural sway in the eyes closed and soft-surface conditions, which suggests a possible subclinical effect involving the proprioceptive and vestibular systems. Several other tests of motor and sensory functions did not show any evidence of acute exposure effects, although statistically significant effects of urinary TCP on the Lanthony color vision test scores and one contrast sensitivity test score were found. The visual measures, however, were not significant when a step-down Bonferroni correction was applied. Information also is presented on the sensitivity of the measures to detect effects in an occupationally exposed population using standard error of the parameter estimates.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chlorpyrifos / poisoning*
  • Color Perception
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Herbicides / urine
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / poisoning*
  • Isoptera*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S.
  • North Carolina
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Pest Control*
  • Posture
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Pyridones / urine
  • Smell
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Touch
  • Tremor
  • United States
  • Vibration
  • Visual Acuity


  • Herbicides
  • Insecticides
  • Pyridones
  • 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol
  • Creatinine
  • Chlorpyrifos