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Solvent neurotoxicity: the current evidence.
J Occup Med 1986 Feb; 28(2):126-129
Current evidence for solvent neurotoxicity is discussed. Exposure, absorption, distribution, and excretion of organic solvents are summarized. The effects of organic solvents on the peripheral nervous system are reviewed. A characteristic distal, symmetrical sensorimotor peripheral neuropathy has been clearly demonstrated following exposure of humans and animals to solvents such as n-hexane (110543), methyl-butyl-ketone (591786), or carbon-disulfide (75150). This disorder has characteristic histologic features such as focal axonal swelling with distal axonal degeneration, predictable dose/response relationships, and a relatively consistent clinical course. The effects of solvents on the central nervous system (CNS) are considered. The syndrome classification scheme for CNS conditions caused by exposure to toxic workplace chemicals proposed by the World Health Organization is described. Epidemiologic studies have shown that there appear to be syndromes of solvent related dysfunction of varying severity with similar qualitative features. As the severity increases, reversibility becomes progressively less likely and structural abnormalities such as cortical atrophy progressively become more likely. The underlying pathogenesis of toxic encephalopathy due to solvents is not understood. Further study is recommended.
Dermatology; Toxic-effects; Physiological-measurements; Neuropathy; Nerve-damage; Dermatosis; Toxic-materials; Physiology; Toxicology; Nerve-tissue; Neurological-reactions
Issue of Publication
Journal of Occupational Medicine
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division