Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1990;16(3):189-194    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.1795

Otoneurological findings in workers exposed to styrene.

by Moller C, Odkvist L, Larsby B, Tham R, Ledin T, Bergholtz L

An otoneurological test battery was administered to 18 workers with long-term exposure (6-15 years) to styrene at levels well below the current Swedish limit (110 mg/m3). The results were compared with those of a reference group. Disturbances were found in the central auditory pathways of seven workers. Tests reflecting central processing of impulses from different sensory equilibrium organs were abnormal for 16 workers. The most relevant tests seemed to be static posturography and the rotatory visual suppression test. In the posturography the styrene group had a significantly larger sway area than the reference group. In the visual suppression test, the styrene workers displayed a significantly poorer ability to suppress vestibular nystagmus than the reference group. It was concluded that styrene exposure in industrial environments at moderate or low levels causes central nervous system disturbances which are not always diagnosable with psychometric tests but can be apparent in special otoneurological tests.