Carbon disulfide poisoning in Korea with social and historical background

Eunil Lee, Soonduck Kim, Haejoon Kim, Kwangjong Kim, Yongtae Yum

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In Korea, carbon disulfide was used mostly in a viscose rayon factory which was established in 1962 and was closed in 1993. About 550 workers were diagnosed and compensated for CS2 poisoning from 1987, to June 1995, and more workers will be diagnosed and compensated. There was no pertinent environmental monitoring or periodic medical examination for the workers exposed to CS2 until 1986. The first cases of CS2 poisoning reported in May, 1987 were 4 retired workers who were very sick. It became possible for them to be diagnosed and compensated because a democratic movements pervaded all the country after the end of military rule in Korea. After they were compensated, many other retired workers also requested to be diagnosed and compensated for CS2 poisoning. Many radicals and radical doctors joined them against the government and company. The government promised that retired workers could be diagnosed by Compensation Insurance organization for Worker's Injury managed by the Ministry of Labor. The rayon company also promised reparation for retired workers who had CS2 poisoning. The diagnosis of CS2 poisoning for retired workers was carried out by the commitee of doctors half of whom were appointed by the company and the remaining half by the workers. There were conflicts between conservative doctors and radical doctors in the diagnosis of CS2 poisoning even after the establishment of legal diagnostic criteria for CS2 poisoning. Workers pressured doctors and the goverment to bring about a change in the diagnostic criteria, and they succeeded. The important findings of CS2 poisoning among Korean workers were as follows: retinal microaneurysm, polyneuropathy, cerebrovascular infarction and intercapillary glomerulosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-161
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Occupational Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1996 Oct


  • Carbon disulfide poisoning
  • Korea
  • Rayon manufacturing company

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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