Neuropsychiatric Symptoms and Occupational Exposure to Chemicals

Stephen J. Genuis, MD, FRCSC, DABOG and Shelagh K. Genuis, BScOT, MLIS
From the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (SJG), University of Alberta, Canada (SKG)
Correspondence: Address correspondence to Dr. Stephen Genuis, 2935–66 Street, Edmonton Alberta, Canada T6K 4C1 (E-mail:


Human exposure assessment and the results of implementing ‘precautionary avoidance’ suggested a relationship between a hairdresser’s neuropsychiatric symptoms and occupational exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals. A variety of investigations in response to patient complaints of depression, emotional instability and various physical symptoms revealed no objective abnormality; the CH2OPD2 mnemonic (community, home, hobbies, occupation, personal habits, diet and drugs) recommended by the Ontario College of Family Physicians was used as a first-line screening tool to assess potential environmental exposure to toxins. After occupational leave of absence, the patient reported cessation of symptoms. Environmental causes for familiar medical problems are frequently undiagnosed; it is recommended that, where appropriate, a screening tool for evaluation of environmental exposure to toxics be incorporated into primary care assessment and management of patients

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