Effects of pentachlorophenol and other chemical preservatives on the health of wood-treating workers in Hawaii

F. I. Gilbert, C. E. Minn, R. C. Duncan, John Wilkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The morbidity and mortality of workers occupationally exposed to wood treating chemicals used in Hawaii for the years 1960 to 1981 were evaluated. The specific chemical exposures investigated were CCA (chromated copper-arsenate), TBTO (tributyl tin oxide) and PCP (pentachlorophenol). Results of detailed medical histories, laboratory and physiological tests, and physical examinations of 88 wood treaters were compared with those of 58 matched controls. The occupationally exposed cases had a significantly higher mean level of urinary PCP as compared to the controls (mean of 174 ppb vs. 35 ppb, (μ/kg). There were no significant differences between the groups for the other urinary pesticide residues. The medical histories and physical examinations revealed no significant variations between the wood treaters and the comparison group. Review of all organ systems and laboratory data showed no clinically significant differences between exposed and nonexposed cohorts, although elevated hepatic enzymes in both groups merit further study. The results indicated no adverse health effects or increased incidence of mortality resulting from exposure to wood preservative chemicals in wood treaters who had worked in the industry for 0.33 to 26.3 years with a median of 6.5 years. Only 6 deaths were reported, 5 of cardiovascular disease, one of cause undetermined and none of cancer. Total number of deaths were less than the 8 anticipated for this age group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-609
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of environmental contamination and toxicology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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