Severe headache associated with occupational exposure to Stoddard solvent

Occup Med (Lond). 2001 Mar;51(2):136-8. doi: 10.1093/occmed/51.2.136.


We report a case of recurrent headaches in a woman with a workplace exposure to airborne (misted) lubricating fluid containing Stoddard solvent. For 2 months, the employee was seen by her family physician, a neurologist and an ophthalmologist. All attempted to diagnose the cause of and treat her headaches. Despite extensive testing, no etiology was discovered. Her headaches continued despite the use of medications. The employee, suspecting an occupational connection, changed the lubricating fluid at her workstation to a non-Stoddard solvent. Within 2 days she reported the complete resolution of her headaches with no further recurrences. A thorough occupational history and literature review supported exposure to Stoddard solvent as the probable source of her headaches.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Headache Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons / adverse effects*
  • Medical History Taking
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Recurrence


  • Hydrocarbons
  • Stoddard solvent