Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1989;15(1):60-63    pdf

https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.1881 | Issue date: Feb 1989

Olfactory function in painters exposed to organic solvents.

by Sandmark B, Broms I, Lofgren L, Ohlson CG

The olfactory receptor cells are in direct contact with the exterior environment, and some chemical agents can impair olfactory function. The olfactory function of 54 painters exposed to organic solvents was compared with that of 42 unexposed referents. A new clinical test validated for the sense of smell was used, the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test. Age, smoking habits, exposure to organic solvents, and medical disorders of importance for the sense of smell were recorded. The painters had a somewhat lower test score than the referents. However, the influence of the exposure variable was not statistically significant in a multiple regression analysis including age and smoking habits. The exposure to organic solvents was low, and therefore an effect of high exposure on olfactory function cannot be ruled out. Since some of the painters had earlier been highly exposed, the effects of high exposure are likely to be reversible.