Persistent respiratory health effects after a metam sodium pesticide spill

Chest. 1994 Aug;106(2):500-8. doi: 10.1378/chest.106.2.500.


Study objective: To report the occurrence of persistent respiratory disorders, including irritant-induced asthma, among adults living and working near an environmental spill of the pesticide, metam sodium, after the derailment of a tank car.

Design: Retrospective clinical case series.

Setting: California communities situated within one-half mile of the Sacramento River, from Mt. Shasta City to Shasta Lake.

Patients: 197 adults referred to a university occupational/environmental health clinic or to a private occupational/environmental health practitioner for evaluation of health problems potentially related to the spill.

Measurements and results: History, physical examination, review of medical records, spirometry, and methacholine challenge testing revealed 20 cases of persistent irritant-induced asthma and 10 cases of persistent exacerbation of asthma.

Conclusions: This is the first reported series of cases of persistent irritant-induced asthma involving both community residents and occupationally exposed individuals.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Asthma / chemically induced*
  • Disasters
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Herbicides / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Isothiocyanates / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pesticides / adverse effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thiocarbamates / adverse effects*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Herbicides
  • Isothiocyanates
  • Pesticides
  • Thiocarbamates
  • methyldithiocarbamate
  • methyl isothiocyanate