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Published in Environmental Research 95 (2004) 53–61.


In May 2000, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the US government conducted a health investigation in response to community concerns regarding ambient and indoor hydrogen sulfide (H2S), odor, and health symptoms in Dakota City, Nebraska. The objective was to determine whether adult residents in an area with repeated exposure to H2S showed poorer performance on neurobehavioral tests than unexposed residents. Study participants were required to meet age (≥16 years of age) and length of residency (2 years) eligibility requirements. A battery of computer-assisted standardized neurobehavioral tests was administered in English or Spanish. A questionnaire was used to collect information about participants, demographic and health status. Three hundred forty-five people agreed to participate. After the exclusion of 10 persons, analyses were conducted on 335 participants; 171 residents in the target area and 164 residents in the comparison area. The two groups were comparable in demographic characteristics and various health conditions. Overall, neurobehavioral test results for the target and comparison groups were similar. Residence in the H2S-exposed area was associated with marginally poorer performance on a test of memory, namely, match to sample score, and a test of grip strength. However, these differences were not significant. Deficits in overall neurobehavioral performance were not associated with exposure to H2S in this study.

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