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Memorias del Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Salud

On-line version ISSN 1812-9528


NUNEZ, Stella Presentado de; KREITMAYR, Lis  and  NUNEZ P, José Antonio. Description of cases registered at the National Toxicology Center (MSPyBS) for exposure due to a fire of discarded transformers. Mem. Inst. Investig. Cienc. Salud [online]. 2018, vol.16, n.1, pp.71-77. ISSN 1812-9528.

In October 2015, the warehouse of discarded transformers of the National Electricity Administration (ANDE) located in San Lorenzo (Paraguay) caught fire destroying transformers, capacitors, and other materials that could contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are considered persistent organic compounds of low acute toxicity, classified as carcinogenic (Group 1) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Levels of PCBs in plasma are biomarkers of exposure to these chemical agents. The objective of the study was to describe toxicological cases due to exposure to the burned discarded transformers, according to the declared symptoms, fire-related activities and exposure biomarker results. In this descriptive cross-sectional observational study, 190 clinical records of the National Toxicology Center (CNTox) were studied, until 29 days after the fire, with biomarker results determined by GC/MS. The biomarker was detected until 13 days after the fire. The following plasmatic levels of PCBs were observed: <1 ng/ml in 86.84% (165/190) and ≥1 ng/ml 13.16% (25/190). There was no record of chloracne cases. Asymptomatic patients were 48.94% (93/190), with biomarker detection in 56% (14/25). Patients with symptoms were 51.06% (97/190) with detection of the biomarker in 44% (11/25). Taking into account the activity of patients with PCB detected in plasma, it was found that they were mostly firefighters 88% (22/25). The asymptomatic patients with detectable levels of PCBs in plasma as an exposure biomarker describe the complementation between clinical and laboratory data.

Keywords : symptoms; exposure biomarker; PCBs.

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