Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1985;11 suppl 2:1-28    pdf  pdf  pdf

Effects of long-term exposure to solvents in the paint industry. A cross-sectional epidemiologic study with clinical and laboratory methods.

by Orbaek P, Risberg J, Rosen I, Haeger-Aronsen B, Hagstadius S, Hjortsberg U, Regnell G, Rehnstrom S, Svensson K, Welinder H

The effects of organic solvents on 50 male workers exposed 5-46 (mean 18) years were studied with a cross-sectional design. Referents were matched pairwise according to age and education. An analysis of confounders confirmed good comparability between the two groups. As indicators of organic brain dysfunction regional cerebral blood flow was measured and the power spectrum of the subjects' electroencephalograms was analyzed, the former being reduced 4% and the latter showing increased power in the delta and beta bands in the exposed group. Symptoms of brain dysfunction were significantly more frequent among the exposed subjects and showed an exposure-effect relationship. Neuropsychological tests revealed definite indication of brain dysfunction in 14% of the exposed subjects in comparison to none in the reference group. The exposed subjects performed significantly worse than the referents in tests measuring focused attention abilities. A neurophysiological examination of the peripheral nervous system showed no difference between the groups. Clinical chemistry demonstrated no differences that could be explained by solvent exposure.