Workplace Exposure to Hog Brains May Cause Neurological Injury

Health officials scrambled to figure out why a dozen workers at a Minnesota meat plant were stricken with a mysterious neurological illness. Affected workers exhibited symptoms including "heavy legs," elevated protein levels, and gradually progressive weakness and numbness. A survey of the affected workers confirmed that those who got sick were employed at or near the "head table," where workers cut the meat off severed hog heads. Investigators have linked the neurological illness to swine slaughterhouses that use a compressed-air device to extract pig brains. High-pressure blasts of compressed air often spray brain tissue around and splatter the hose operator in the process.

For more information on this workplace injury, please see this story in the New York Times.