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Organophosphorus Esters and Polyneuropathy

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University of California Irvine Medical Center; Orange, California

Ann Intern Med. 1986;104(2):264-266. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-104-2-264
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Contaminated watermelons in California, toxic dumps and abandoned towns in the Midwest, and mass death in India: In the 1980s the hazards from human exposure to pesticides and related chemicals have moved from the toxicologic laboratory to the clinician's office. The muscarinic and nicotinic effects of one class of pesticides, the organophosphorus esters, have been well recognized for their acute inhibition of acetyl cholinesterase. There is also a less familiar but complex pattern of progressive and chronic polyneuropathy, organophosphorus-induced delayed neurotoxicity, which is a potentially devastating consequence of exposure to this ubiquitous class of substances found in industry and the


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