Registration Dossier

Toxicological information

Direct observations: clinical cases, poisoning incidents and other

Administrative data

Endpoint:
direct observations: clinical cases, poisoning incidents and other
Adequacy of study:
other information
Study period:
data not available
Reliability:
2 (reliable with restrictions)
Rationale for reliability incl. deficiencies:
other: Study well documented, meets generally accepted scientific principles, acceptable for assessment

Data source

Reference
Reference Type:
publication
Title:
Fatality due to inhalation of dimethyl sulfide in a confined space: a case report and animal experiments
Author:
Terazawa K, Mizukami K, Wu B and Takatori T
Year:
1991
Bibliographic source:
Int. J. Legal. Med., 104(3), 141-4

Materials and methods

Study type:
poisoning incident
Test guideline
Qualifier:
no guideline required

Test material

Reference
Name:
Unnamed
Type:
Constituent

Method

Type of population:
occupational
Subjects:
- Number of subjects exposed: 1
- Sex: male
- Age: 25 years old
- Race: data not available
- Demographic information: data not available
- Known diseases: data not available
Ethical approval:
not applicable
Route of exposure:
inhalation
Reason of exposure:
accidental
Exposure assessment:
not specified
Examinations:
DMS was quantified in tissues by GC method equipped with a flame photometric detector.

Results and discussion

Clinical signs:
In a paper manufacturing plant in Ebetsu, Hokkaido, Japan, a fatal accident occurred in a round storage tank (5m in height, 4m in diameter). Two men entered the tank to clean the bottom, where they immediately collapsed and were retrieved. One was already dead and the other died 1.5 days later. It was suspected that toxic gases had entered the tank through a pipe from another tank and had accumulated at the bottom. Later, the atmosphere was sampled to determine the concentrations of toxic gases: hydrogen sulfide was not detected, methyl mercaptan was present in a concentration less than 10ppm, dimethyl sulfide (DMS) several ppm and dimethyl disulfide less than 1 ppm.
Results of examinations:
Autopsy:
The 25-year-old man was already dead when retrieved and an autopsy was performed 27 h after the accident. A disagreeable odour smelling of garlic was detected on the body surface and in the mouth. Lividity was tinted brown and petechial haemorrhages were seen in the conjunctivae. The cardiac blood also had a tint of brown and was fluid. The left lung weighed 600 g, the right 760g and both were rich in blood and oedematous. Other organs were also congested.  Blood and organ samples were taken for toxicological analyses.  Microscopically no abnormalities could be detected except for congestion in every organ.
Outcome of incidence:
From the circumstances of the case it was thought that the death of victim had occurred over a very short period of time from poisoning by sulfur
compound gases and/or from asphyxia due to the hypoxic atmosphere by substituion of the gases. The pathological findings were consistent with the above causes of death, which have occurred immediately.

Any other information on results incl. tables

Measured concentration of DMS in tissues of the victim were as follow:

Tissue

DMS (mg/g, wet weight)

Lung

0.11

Blood

0.20

Heart muscle

0.08

Brain

0.23

Liver

0.06

Spleen

0.21

Kidney

0.14

Muscle

0.01

Adipose tissue

0.04

Applicant's summary and conclusion

Executive summary:

A man was found dead in a tank where gaseous dimethyl sulfide (DMS) was present. The concentrations of DMS in the blood and tissue samples were measured by gas chromatography. Mice were experimentally exposed to various concentrations (5%-55%) of gaseous DMS in a confined space and the course of death and DMS distribution in the bodies were observed to obtain diagnostic criteria for DMS poisoning. As a result it was considered that the cause of death of the victim was consistent with a combination of DMS poisoning and asphyxia due to a hypoxic atmosphere.