Next Article in Journal
The Association between Mental Wellbeing, Levels of Harmful Drinking, and Drinking Motivations: A Cross-Sectional Study of the UK Adult Population
Previous Article in Journal
Mental Well-Being of Older People in Finland during the First Year in Senior Housing and Its Association with Physical Performance
Open AccessArticle

Toxic Effects of Methanol among Illegally Dispatched Workers at Aluminum CNC Cutting Process in Small-Scale, Third-Tier Subcontractor Factories of Smartphone Manufacturers in the Republic of Korea

1
Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital, Seoul 07985, Korea
2
Center for Bio-Environmental Science, Seegene Medical Foundation, Seoul 04805, Korea
3
Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, College of Medicine, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 07985, Korea
4
Department of Ophthalmology, College of Medicine, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 07985, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1332; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071332
Received: 3 April 2018 / Revised: 14 June 2018 / Accepted: 19 June 2018 / Published: 25 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Occupational Safety and Health)
An outbreak of occupational methanol poisoning occurred in small-scale, third-tier factories of large-scale smartphone manufacturers in the Republic of Korea in 2016. To investigate the working environment and the health effects of methanol exposure among co-workers in the methanol poisoning cases, we performed a cross-sectional study on 155 workers at five aluminum Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) cutting factories. Gas chromatography measured air and urinary methanol concentration. In the medical examination, symptom surveys, ophthalmological examinations, and neurobehavioral tests were done. Multiple logistic regression analyses controlling for age and sex were conducted to reveal the association of employment duration with symptoms. Air concentrations of methanol in factory A and E ranged from 228.5 to 2220.0 ppm. Mean urinary methanol concentrations of the workers in each factory were from 3.5 mg/L up to 91.2 mg/L. The odds ratios for symptoms of deteriorating vision and central nervous system (CNS) increased according to the employment duration after adjusting for age and sex. Four cases with an injured optic nerve and two cases with decreased neurobehavioral function were founded among co-workers of the victims. This study showed that the methanol exposure under poor environmental control not only produces eye and CNS symptoms but also affects neurobehavioral function and the optic nerve. The role of subcontracting production and dispatched work under poor environmental control was discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: methanol exposure; toxic effects; subcontractor manufacturing; dispatched workers; visual defect; neurobehavioral function methanol exposure; toxic effects; subcontractor manufacturing; dispatched workers; visual defect; neurobehavioral function
MDPI and ACS Style

Kang, C.W.; Kim, H.; Shin, K.; Ryu, J.; Jung-Choi, K.; Lim, K.H.; Kim, J.-H. Toxic Effects of Methanol among Illegally Dispatched Workers at Aluminum CNC Cutting Process in Small-Scale, Third-Tier Subcontractor Factories of Smartphone Manufacturers in the Republic of Korea. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1332.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop