Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Clinical findings in workers exposed to pentachlorophenol


Comparative findings are presented on the health and exposure status of groups of individuals in Hawaii with and without occupational exposure to pentachlorophenol (PCP). Occupational exposure to PCP occurred through employment at firms engaged in the treatment of wood with either PCP alone or PCP plus other compounds as preservative chemicals. Mean serum levels were 0.32 ppm for 32 control individuals, 1.72 ppm for 24 workers exposed to PCP and other wood preservative chemicals, and 3.78 ppm for 22 workers exposed to PCP as the sole preservative chemical.

Age-standardized prevalence rates were significantly higher among the PCP-exposed than among the controls for low-grade infections or inflammations of the skin and subcutaneous tissue, protective membrane of the eyes and the mucosa membrane of the upper respiratory tract. Strong to moderate statistical associations were observed between PCP exposure and increased occurrence of bands (immature leucocytes) and basophils, increased plasma cholinesterase, alkaline phosphatase, gamma globulin and uric acid, and decreased serum calcium. Despite these statistical associations, laboratory values considered to be clinically abnormal were few and not significantly greater in occurrence among the PCP-exposed individuals.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Acosta, F. J.: Draft of news release announcing the Community Studies Program, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Bureau of State Services, Washington, DC, Feb. 19, 1965.

  2. Barclay, G. W.: Techniques of population analysis. p. 161. New York: Wiley (1958).

  3. Begley, J., M. N. Rashad, A. W. Siemsen, and E. L. Reichert: Association between renal function tests and pentachlorophenol exposure. Clin. Toxicol.11, 97 (1977).

  4. Bevenue, A., J. R. Wilson, E. F. Potter, M. K. Song, H. Beckman, and G. Mallet: A method for the determination of pentachlorophenol in human urine in picogram quantities. Bull. Environ. Contam. & Toxicol.1, 257 (1966).

  5. Bevenue, A., T. J. Haley, and H. W. Klemmer: A note on the effects of a temporary exposure of an individual to pentachlorophenol. Bull. Environ. Contain. & Toxicol.2, 293 (1967a).

  6. Bevenue, A., J. Wilson, L. J. Casarett, and H. W. Klemmer: A survey of pentachlorophenol content in human urine. Bull. Environ. Contam. & Toxicol.2, 319 (1967b).

  7. Bevenue, A., L. J. Casarett, W. L. Yauger, Jr., and J. L. Emerson: A sensitive gas Chromatographic method for the determination of pentachlorophenol in human blood. J. Chromatog.38, 467 (1968).

  8. Budy, A. M., M. N. Rashad, and M. P. Mi: Effects of pesticide residue on blood pressure, FASEB36, 1008 (1977).

  9. Burchfield, H. P., D. E. Johnson, and E. E. Storrs: Guide to the analysis of pesticide residues, Vol. I and II. U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Bureau of State Services, Office of Pesticides, Washington, DC (1965).

  10. Casarett, L. J., A. Bevenue, W. L. Yauger, Jr., and S. A. Whalen: Observations on pentachorophenol in human blood and urine. Amer. Ind. Hyg. Assoc. J.30, 360 (1969).

  11. Healey, L. A., and P. S. Bayani-Sioson: A defect in the renal excretion of uric acid in Filipinos. Arthritis and Rheumatism14, 721 (1971).

  12. Hotelling, H.: Relations between two sets of variates, Biometrika28, 321 (1936).

  13. ICDA: International classification of diseases adopted for use in the United States. U.S. Dept. of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service Publication No. 1693 (1968), Washington, DC.

  14. Klemmer, H. W.: Human health and pesticides-Community Pesticides Studies, Residue Rev.41, 55 (1971).

  15. Korsak, R. J., and M. M. Sato: The effects of chronic organophosphate pesticide exposure on the central nervous system, Clin. Toxicol.11, 83 (1977).

  16. Rashad, M. N., M. P. Mi, H. W. Klemmer, A. M. Budy, and E. L. Reichert: Association between serum cholesterol and serum organochlorine residues. Bull. Environ. Contam. & Toxicol.15, 475 (1976).

  17. Rayner, M. D., J. S. Popper, E. W. Carvalho, and R. Hurov: Hyporeflexia in workers chronically exposed to organophosphate insecticides. Res. Commun. in Chem. Path. & Pharm.4, 595 (1972).

  18. Smith, D. A.: Biochemistry Manual. Biochemistry Committee, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Division of Community Studies, Chamblee, GA. (1969).

  19. SPSS: Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, 2 ed., p. 515. New York: McGraw-Hill (1975).

  20. Takahashi, W., E. L. Reichert, G. C. Fung, and Y. Hokama: Acute phase proteins and pesticide exposure. Life Sciences19, 1645 (1976).

  21. Thompson, J. F. Analysis of Pesticide Residues in Human and Environmental Samples. Revised December 1974. Pesticide and Toxic Substances Effects Laboratory, National Environmental Research Center, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711.

  22. Sato, M. M., H. W. Klemmer, L. Wong, E. L. Reichert, R. J. Korsak, and M. N. Rashad: Clinical findings in workers exposed to pentachlorophenol. Final Report (1978) to the American Wood Preservers' Institute, 1651 Old Meadow Road, McClean, VA 22101.

Download references

Author information

Additional information

Research supported through a contract with the Epidemiologic Studies Program, Human Effects Monitoring Branch, Technical Services Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC 20460, and a grant from the American Wood Preservers' Institute, 1651 Old Meadows Road, McClean, VA 22101.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Klemmer, H.W., Wong, L., Sato, M.M. et al. Clinical findings in workers exposed to pentachlorophenol. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 9, 715–725 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01055546

Download citation


  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Uric Acid
  • Serum Calcium
  • Cholinesterase
  • Occupational Exposure