Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1985;11(4):271-280    pdf


Response of solvent-exposed printers and unexposed controls to six-hour toluene exposure.

by Baelum J, Andersen IB, Lundqvist GR, Molhave L, Pedersen OF, Vaeth M, Wyon DP

The acute effects of toluene were studied in 43 male printers and 43 control subjects matched according to sex, age, educational level, and smoking habits. The mean age of the subjects was 36 (range 29-50) years. The printers had been exposed to solvents for 9 to 25 years during employment at flexo and rotogravure printing plants, while the controls had no history of solvent exposure. Each subject was exposed once in a climate chamber to either 100 ppm of toluene or clean air for 6.5 h preceded by a 1-h acclimatization period. The effects of toluene were measured from subjective votes with linear analogue rating scales on 16 items, and on the performance of 10 different tests measuring psychomotor skills, perceptual skills, and vigilance. Exposure to 100 ppm of toluene compared with exposure to clean air caused discomfort with complaints of low air quality, strong odor, fatigue, sleepiness, a feeling of intoxication, and irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. Furthermore, the subjects exposed to toluene showed decreased manual dexterity, decreased color discrimination, and decreased accuracy in visual perception. There was no significant difference in the effects of toluene on printers compared to those of toluene on controls, but tendencies toward a greater sensitivity were seen for the printers in two tests.