Our recent experiences with sarin poisoning cases in Japan and pesticide users with references to some selected chemicals

Neurotoxicology. 2007 Mar;28(2):364-73. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2006.04.006. Epub 2006 May 2.


Attention has been paid to neurobehavioral effects of occupational and environmental exposures to chemicals such as pesticides, heavy metals and organic solvents. The area of research that includes neurobehavioral methods and effects in occupational and environmental health has been called "Occupational and Environmental Neurology and Behavioral Medicine." The methods, by which early changes in neurological, cognitive and behavioral function can be assessed, include neurobehavioral test battery, neurophysiological methods, questionnaires and structured interview, biochemical markers and imaging techniques. The author presents his observations of neurobehavioral and neurophysiological effects in Tokyo subway sarin poisoning cases as well as in pesticide users (tobacco farmers) in Malaysia in relation to Green Tobacco Sickness (GTS). In sarin cases, a variety effects were observed 6-8 months after exposure, suggesting delayed neurological effects. Studies on pesticide users revealed that organophosphorus and dithiocarbamate affected peripheral nerve conduction and postural balance; subjective symptoms related to GTS were also observed, indicating the effects of nicotine absorbed from wet tobacco leaves. In addition, non-neurological effects of pesticides and other chemicals are presented, in relation to genetic polymorphism and oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / genetics
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / physiopathology
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / psychology
  • Animals
  • Behavior / drug effects
  • Biotransformation / genetics
  • Chemical Terrorism*
  • Chemical Warfare Agents / metabolism
  • Chemical Warfare Agents / poisoning*
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • DNA Damage
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Micronuclei, Chromosome-Defective / drug effects
  • Nervous System / drug effects
  • Neural Conduction / drug effects
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / etiology*
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / genetics
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / psychology
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / adverse effects
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Pesticides / adverse effects*
  • Pesticides / metabolism
  • Postural Balance / drug effects
  • Sarin / metabolism
  • Sarin / poisoning*
  • Thiocarbamates / adverse effects
  • Time Factors


  • Chemical Warfare Agents
  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Pesticides
  • Thiocarbamates
  • Sarin