J Korean Med Sci.  2010 Dec;25(Suppl):S26-S35. 10.3346/jkms.2010.25.S.S26.

Occupational Neurological Disorders in Korea

  • 1Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute, Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency, Incheon, Korea. toxneuro@kosha.net


The purpose of this article was to provide a literature review of occupational neurological disorders and related research in Korea, focusing on chemical hazards. We reviewed occupational neurological disorders investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute of Korean Occupational Safety and Health Agency between 1992 and 2009, categorizing them as neurological disorders of the central nervous system (CNS), of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) or as neurodegenerative disorders. We also examined peer-reviewed journal articles related to neurotoxicology, published from 1984 to 2009. Outbreaks of occupational neurological disorder of the CNS due to inorganic mercury and carbon disulfide poisoning had helped prompt the development of the occupational safety and health system of Korea. Other major neurological disorders of the CNS included methyl bromide intoxication and chronic toxic encephalopathy. Most of the PNS disorders were n-hexane-induced peripheral neuritis, reported from the electronics industry. Reports of manganese-induced Parkinsonism resulted in the introduction of neuroimaging techniques to occupational medicine. Since the late 1990s, the direction of research has been moving toward degenerative disorder and early effect of neurotoxicity. To understand the early effects of neurotoxic chemicals in the preclinical stage, more follow-up studies of a longer duration are necessary.


Neurotoxic Chemicals; Korea; Carbon Disulfide; Manganese; n-Hexane; CNS; PNS; Neurodegenerative Disorders

MeSH Terms

Central Nervous System Diseases/chemically induced/epidemiology
Middle Aged
Nervous System Diseases/chemically induced/*epidemiology/etiology
Neurodegenerative Diseases/chemically induced/epidemiology
Neurotoxicity Syndromes/*epidemiology/*etiology
Occupational Diseases/chemically induced/*epidemiology/etiology
Parkinsonian Disorders/chemically induced/epidemiology
Peripheral Nervous System Diseases/chemically induced/epidemiology
Republic of Korea
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