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Neurobehavioural effects of occupational exposure to organic solvents among construction painters.
Fidler AT; Baker EL; Letz RE
Br J Ind Med 1987 May; 44(5):292-308
A study of the neurobehavioral effects of exposure to organic solvents in construction painters was conducted. The cohort consisted of 101 construction painters, mean age 42.8 years, exposed to solvents. The comparisons consisted of 31 dry wall tapers, mean age 37.9 years, who had no history of painting with solvent paints. All subjects were members of the Boston (Massachusetts) District Council of the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades. A solvent history questionnaire was administered to all subjects. The questionnaire data were used to derive an exposure index and to estimate length and frequency of exposure. The subjects also completed questionnaires that evaluated the prevalence of neurological symptoms. Eight neurobehavioral tests that measured psychomotor performance (continuous performance test, symbol digit substitution, hand eye coordination), memory (digit span, pattern memory, Sternberg memory scanning test), verbal ability, and mood were given. Average length of employment as a painter was 17.99 years. The painters had a median lifetime exposure index of 28728.00. The median index for the year preceding the study was 24303.40. Exposure to solvent paints was positively and significantly associated with the occurrence of symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and problems associated with arm strength. A frequent anecdotal complaint among the painters was the feeling of getting high from solvent containing products. This was significantly associated with the exposure index. Few significant positive associations were found between exposure and the neurobehavioral tests. The number of weeks worked in the previous year was associated with symbol digit latency and digit span. The authors conclude that the presence of neurotoxic symptoms without a clear functional deficit, as found in the study, is consistent with type 1 effects of the World Health Organization classification of central nervous system disorders.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Grant; Organic-solvents; Construction-workers; Toxic-effects; Painting; Occupational-exposure; Neurotoxic-effects; Behavioral-testing; Central-nervous-system-disorders
Issue of Publication
Neurotoxic Disorders; Neurotoxic-effects
British Journal of Industrial Medicine
Environmental Sci & Physiology Harvard School of Public Hlth 665 Huntington Ave Boston, Mass 02115
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division