OBJECTIVE: To study chronic effects of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) on cranial nerve I (nervi olfactorii), which have been only minimally described. METHODS: Chemosensations (smell and taste) were evaluated in eight men who complained of continuing dysfunction 2-3 years after the start of occupational exposure to H2S. Various bilateral (both nostrils) and unilateral (one nostril at a time) odour threshold tests with standard odorants as well as the Chicago smell test, a three odour detection and identification test and the University of Pennsylvania smell identification test, a series of 40 scratch and sniff odour identification tests were administered. RESULTS: Six of the eight patients showed deficits of various degrees. Two had normal scores on objective tests, but thought that they continued to have problems. H2S apparently can cause continuing, sometimes unrecognised olfactory deficits. CONCLUSION: Further exploration into the extent of such problems among workers exposed to H2S is warranted.
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