Toxic oil syndrome: ten years of progress



Edited by Benedetto Terracini
2004, 191 pages
ISBN 92 890 1063 0

This is the third book published by WHO on the outbreak of the condition that came to be called the toxic oil syndrome (TOS), which struck Spain in 1981. It killed several hundred people and affected more than 20 000, many of whom remain ill today. The two previous books described, respectively, early observations and scientific findings gathered throughout the 1980s.

This volume reflects the progress made in the last ten years by the WHO/CISAT Scientific Committee for the Toxic Oil Syndrome. First, various projects were supported aiming at the full chemical characterization of the oil matrix. Second, attempts were made to reproduce, on both a laboratory and an industrial scale, the refining process to which the suspect oil had been subjected, in an attempt to establish the conditions under which the toxin(s) were generated and to provide sufficient amounts of reconstituted oils for toxicological studies. Third, a search was undertaken for an animal model in which to study the disease. Finally, work on the possible immune origin of the intoxication was stepped up, with promising results to date.