TABLE 7.7 Neurobehavioral Effects and Solvent Exposure


Exposed Population

Control Population

Health Outcomes or Test Type

Solvent Exposure




Mikkelsen et al., 1988

85 painters

85 bricklayers

14 NB tests, neurologic examination, symptom questionnaire

Paint, solvents; exposure index

Age, alcohol, education, verbal IQ, atherosclerosis, neurologic disease, word blindness

Decrease in performance in block design, symbol digit; latter related to degree of exposure

Symptom results not reported separately; clinical assessment not specified

Hannien et al., 1991

21 members of group of monozygotic twins; exposed twins

21 members of group of monozygotic twins; nonexposed twins

13 NB tests, including WAIS, POMS, personality test

Solvents, glues by work history; exposure index

Exposure index

Exposure associated with poorer performance on associative learning, digit span, block design, POMS symptom of absentmindedness

Of exposed twins, 13 of 21 with only prior exposure; only one comparison between current and past exposures on many NB tests

Parkinson et al., 1990

567 female microelectronics workers at plant in Pennsylvania

Different categories of exposure in same plant

Nine “neurologic” symptoms, Hopkins symptom checklist for depression, eight “somatic” symptoms, five NB tests

Solvent exposure in five categories, including two with only past exposure

Seven risk factors, including age, smoking, alcohol intake, obesity, medical disease

Groups with only past exposure had significantly more headaches, weakness or fatigue, rashes, abdominal pain; no difference on NB tests


Stollery, 1996

Two groups of women: eight accidentally exposed to toluene, other aliphatic hydrocarbons, 10 with past chronic exposure in same factory

10 workers in the factory, but in packing department

Four NB tests

Toluene, other aliphatic hydrocarbons in acute spill and with past chronic exposure; study 3 years after initial study (Stollery and Flindt, 1988)

Age, duration of employment

Syntactic, semantic reasoning worse in those with acute intoxication


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