Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1986;12(5):469-475    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.2110

Subjective and objective signs of organic solvent toxicity among occupationally exposed workers. An experimental evaluation.

by Iregren A

A questionnaire consisting of 55 items concerning acute and long-term symptoms associated with exposure to organic solvents, as well as questions about type and duration of exposure, was distributed to 225 male spray painters in the Stockholm region. From the 152 respondents, two extreme groups were selected on the basis of frequency of solvent-related symptoms. Subjects for the experimental study (N = 26) were chosen from these groups and matched with respect to age and number of years employed as a painter. The subjects were experimentally exposed for 4 h to 3.2 mmol/m3 (300 mg/m3) of toluene and a control condition in an exposure chamber. Effects on performance were assessed with a computerized battery of four tests. Ratings of acute symptoms were also studied, and toluene exposure was found to affect them. However, there were no indications of toluene effects on performance, nor was there any correlation between symptom frequencies and performance levels. The only difference found between the two groups was a higher frequency of symptoms of local irritation in the group which had reported high symptom frequencies on the questionnaire.