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Dong-Woo Choi 1 Article
A comprehensive study of deaths due to exposure to humidifier disinfectant in Korea: focusing on medical records, assessment of exposure to humidifier disinfectants, and causes of death
Yeong Jun Ju, Seungho Lee, Seungsoo Sheen, Dong-Woo Choi, Jong-Han Leem, Soon Young Lee
Epidemiol Health. 2021;43:e2021091.   Published online November 1, 2021
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2021091
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
We aimed to determine the characteristics of the deceased victims of deaths caused by exposure to humidifier disinfectants, and present the distribution of the victims’ data submitted for damage application, demographic characteristics, imaging findings, characteristics of humidifier disinfectant exposure, and distribution of the causes of death.
METHODS
An integrated database of victims was established using the medical records data of 1,413 victims submitted during the application for death damage caused by exposure to humidifier disinfectants, and the demographic characteristics, medical records, imaging findings, exposure characteristics, and cause of death were examined.
RESULTS
The average numbers of data submissions of each applicant for death damage were 3.0 medical use records. A total of 608 (43.0%) victims had more than one finding of acute, subacute, or chronic interstitial lung diseases. The average daily and cumulative use times of the victims were 14.40 and 24,645.81 hours, respectively, indicating greater exposure in this group than in the survivors. The humidifier disinfectants’ components comprised polyhexamethylene guanidine (72.8%), chloromethylisothiazolinone/methylisothiazolinone (10.5%), other components (15.0%), and oligo-[2-(2-ethoxy)-ethoxyethyl] guanidine chloride (1.5%). The components’ distribution was 67.8% for single-component use, which was higher than that in the survivors (59.8%). The distribution of the causes of death were: respiratory diseases (54.4%), neoplasms (16.8%), and circulatory diseases (6.3%). Other interstitial lung diseases (65.5%) were the most common cause of death among those who died due to respiratory diseases.
CONCLUSIONS
Careful discussions of appropriate remedies should be conducted based on a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of the deceased victims, considering their specificities and limitations.
Summary
Korean summary
가습기 살균제 사망 피해 신청자 들 중 건강피해를 인정받지 못한 신청자들이 여전히 많이 남아있으며 (약 40%), 피해판정의 복잡성과 다양한 이슈들이 산적해 있어 사망 피해 신청자들의 적정 구제를 위해 종합적인 특성파악을 바탕으로 세심한 관점에서의 검토가 필요하다. 특히, 가습기 살균제 사망 피해 신청자의 특수성과 피해구제의 제한점을 고려하여야 하며, 기계적인 건강피해 판정을 지양하고 사망 피해 신청자 중심의 세밀한 특성 파악을 바탕으로 다양한 전문가집단이 참여하는 종합적인 논의를 통해 적정구제를 이루어 나가야 함을 제안한다.
Key Message
Careful discussions of appropriate remedies should be conducted based on a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of the deceased victims, considering their specificities and limitations.

Citations

Citations to this article as recorded by  
  • Health Effects Associated With Humidifier Disinfectant Use: A Systematic Review for Exploration
    Ji-Hun Song, Joonho Ahn, Min Young Park, Jaeyoung Park, Yu Min Lee, Jun-Pyo Myong, Jung-Wan Koo, Jongin Lee
    Journal of Korean Medical Science.2022;[Epub]     CrossRef
  • Gene expression related to lung cancer altered by PHMG-p treatment in PBTE cells
    Yoon Hee Park, Sang Hoon Jeong, Hyejin Lee, Cherry Kim, Yoon Jeong Nam, Ja Young Kang, Jin Young Choi, Yu-Seon Lee, Su A. Park, Jaeyoung Kim, Eun-Kee Park, Yong-Wook Baek, Hong Lee, Ju-Han Lee
    Molecular & Cellular Toxicology.2022;[Epub]     CrossRef

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