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Long-lasting sensory loss in WTC workers
Date:5/17/2010

ecognized that their ability to detect odors and irritants was compromised.

Health screenings of WTC workers had documented the effects of inhaled exposure on the lungs and respiratory function, but little was known about the impact on sensory systems of the nose. These sensory systems include the olfactory system, which detects odors, and the somatosensory system, responsible for detecting irritants, chemicals that cause pain, tingling, burning, stinging, or prickling.

The inability to detect irritants and odors is a critical safety concern, especially since the workers were not aware of their impairment.

"Odors also serve a protective function, such as the ability to identify smoke from a fire, leaking gas, or spoiled food," said Dalton.

The authors suggest that the ability to smell and detect irritants should be evaluated regularly in WTC responders and other workers having pollutant exposures.

Future studies will attempt to follow the workers to assess recovery and identify factors associated with more complete recovery.


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Contact: Leslie Stein
stein@monell.org
267-519-4707
Monell Chemical Senses Center
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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