Pest controllers: a high-risk group for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)?

Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2008 Mar;46(3):193-200. doi: 10.1080/15563650601185126.


Introduction: Based on the assumption that professional groups with frequent chemical exposure are at an increased risk for developing Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), a sample of 45 professional pest controllers was investigated.

Methods: The examination of the pest controllers consisted of a physical and laboratory examination with urine screening for pyrethroid metabolites, a psychiatric interview, a neuropsychological test battery, and a chemical sensitivity questionnaire.

Results: Persistent or serious work related health problems and chemical sensitivity were not reported. In urine, cis-3-(2,2-dibromovinyl)-2,2-dimethylcyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (Br(2)CA) was detected in 11%, 4-fluoro-3-phenoxybenzoic acid (F-PBA) in 7%. 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA) exceeded the reference range in 9%, cis- and trans-3-(2,2-dichlorovinyl)-2,2-dimethyl-cyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (Cl(2)CA) in 20%. Increased liver enzymes and blood count deviations were rather common. 38% had psychiatric disorders. With few exceptions, neuropsychological testing results were normal.

Conclusions: The results do not support the hypothesis that work-related insecticide exposure promotes chemical sensitivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affective Symptoms / chemically induced
  • Affective Symptoms / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / chemically induced
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Depression / chemically induced
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / chemically induced
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity / psychology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pest Control*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Risk
  • Surveys and Questionnaires