Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1980;6(1):19-32    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.2636 | Issue date: Mar 1980

Symptoms of car painters with long-term exposure to a mixture of organic solvents.

by Husman K

Symptoms as an early sign of the effect of low-level exposure to organic solvents were studied among 102 male car painters and 102 referents with the aid of a symptom questionnaire. The exposure level was about one-third of the current administrative threshold limit value recommended in Finland. In addition to the comparisons of the appearance of single symptoms among the exposed and reference groups partial correlation and factor analyses were performed. Symptoms of fatigue and disturbances in memory and vigilance occurred statistically significantly more often among the exposed than among the referents. When the symptoms during the workshift (acute symptoms) were compared, irritation symptoms and "prenarcotic" symptoms were reported significantly more often in the exposed group. Correlation and factor analyses of the acute symptoms among the car painters suggested that acute symptoms are related at the individual level, as hypothesized on the basis of earlier literature. By means of a questionnaire sent to 124 men who changed employment in the 5 a before this investigation, it was found that health was an important reason for having left the car painting trade for those who had taken jobs without exposure to organic solvents. This finding indicates that those car painters included in this study may have undergone some degree of health selection. The results suggest that a symptom inquiry is helpful for detecting the possible early effects of exposure to a mixture of organic solvents.