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Lead, solvents, and neurobehavior in construction workers.

Fiedler NL; Gochfeld M; Wedeen R; Weisel C
Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, R01-OH-003144, 1998 Jul; :1-119
Construction workers are routinely exposed to hazards including neurotoxicants with little or no protection or medical monitoring of health effects. Neurobehavioral tests of cognition, sensory function, and mood were compared between the following four groups of construction workers who were members of the International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers or International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades (IBPAT): Lead (N= 38); Lead/Solvent (N=40); Solvent (N = 46); Controls (N= 42). Groups were matched on age, education, intellectual ability, alcohol and drug use, gender, and ethnicity. Average bone lead was comparable between the Lead and Lead/Solvent groups with a mean of 14.4 ppm (S.D. = 19.0) and 19.5 ppm (S.D. = 11.4), respectively. Lifetime solvent exposure estimates were significantly higher in the Solvent and Lead/Solvent groups which did not differ from each other. Memory function was significantly reduced for the exposed .groups relative to the Controls. Relative to Controls, the Solvent group had reduced verbal memory while the Lead exposed group had increased latency of response on a coding task involving visuospatial memory. Lead and solvent exposure did not have a synergistic or additive effect on cognitive performance. Bone lead was a significant predictor of latency of response for the coding task while lifetime solvent exposure was a significant predictor of verbal memory performance. Sensory losses included reduced contrast sensitivity for the Solvent group relative to a matched group of Controls, while hearing loss was documented for the Lead group, composed primarily of Iron Workers. Significant reductions in bone lead were documented at a 2 year follow-up and some improvement in functions of attention/concentration were also seen.
Lead-compounds; Lead-dust; Solvents; Behavior; Behavior-patterns; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Hazards; Neurotoxins; Demographic-characteristics
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, 170 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
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University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, Piscataway, NJ
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division