Measurement of hand grip strength is a useful method for identifying neurotoxic effects of occupational exposures. The authors studied 3,522 participants of the Honolulu Heart Program and the HAAS who were free of stroke and Parkinson's disease to determine whether occupational exposures to pesticides, solvents, and metals were assessed at exam I (1965-1968) were associated with hand grip strength 25 years later at exam IV (1991-1993). Three industrial hygienists independently assessed likelihood of exposure for reported usual occupations (0=non, 1=low, 2=medium, 3=high), and assigned a value by consensus. Exposure intensity scores were created as teh product of exposure level and number of years exposed. Correlation, analysis of variance and covariance, and linear regression were used to assess these associations. At exam IV, participants ranged in age from 71-93 years. Participant's mean grip strength was 39.6 kg at exam I and 30.3 kg at exam IV. Significant but small increases in mean grip strength were observed with increasing levels of metal (30.3, 30.5, 30.9, 31.4 kg; p trend = 0.015) and manganese (30.4, 31.0, 31.0, 31.8 kg; p trend = 0.005) exposures after adjustment for age, physical activity, BMI, blood glucose, cognitive function score, education, and hemoglobin. Mean grip strength levels decreased with increasing pesticide exposure (30.3, 31.2, 29.4, 27.6 kg; p trend <0.001), and with increasing solvent exposure (30.3, 30.5, 29.9, 29.4 kg; p trend = 0.014). These associations disappeared after risk factor adjustment. Occupational exposure to pesticides, solvents, and metals do not appear to have an adverse independent effect on grip strength in this population.