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A neurological evaluation of workers exposed to mixtures of organic solvents.
Maizlish NA; Fine LJ; Albers JW; Whitehead L; Langolf GD
Br J Ind Med 1987 Jan; 44(1):14-25
Neurological evaluations of workers exposed to mixtures of organic solvents were conducted as part of a comprehensive study of neurobehavioral effects of solvent exposure. A total of 240 workers employed as printers and spray painters at four facilities comprised the study group; 66 percent of the subjects were males and mean exposure was 6 years. Subjects completed an occupational history and symptom questionnaire, and underwent neurological examinations that evaluated mental status, motor function (strength, bulk, coordination, and gait), sensation, and reflexes. Blood samples were analyzed for 22 indicators of organ and hematologic function and for ethanol (64175) levels. Breathing zone samples were analyzed for solvents. Solvent exposure for each subject was estimated based on the analytical data and on job title. Mild sensory deficits and a diminished ankle reflex suggestive of a mild polyneuropathy were found in approximately 16 percent of the subjects. These deficits were not considered to be of clinical significance. All blood samples were negative for ethanol. Average full shift solvent concentrations were 302 parts per million (ppm) for printers and 6 to 13ppm for other workers. Hexane (110543) and isopropyl-alcohol (67630) were the major solvents identified. Decreased red blood cell count was significantly associated with increasing solvent concentrations. Increasing solvent concentration was related to decreasing serum-glutamic-oxaloacetic-transaminase and serum-glutamic-pyruvic-transaminase and to increasing serum albumin concentrations. The authors conclude that their results do not support other studies' findings of dose related adverse neurological effects in workers exposed to organic solvents below recommended limits. This could be due to shortness of exposure duration, selection factors, or the type of solvent exposure.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Contract; Contract-210-80-0003; Neurotoxicity; Alcohols; Epidemiology; Organic-compounds; Hexanes; Neurophysiological-effects; Occupational-exposure; Medical-examinations; Neuropathy
64-17-5; 110-54-3; 67-63-0
Issue of Publication
British Journal of Industrial Medicine
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division