One of the most prevalent workplace chemical exposures historically and currently confronting the global military and civilian workforce is jet propellant (JP) fuel (e.g., JP4, JP5, JP8, jet A1), a complex mixture of numerous hydrocarbon compounds and additives. To date, numerous protective and preventive strategies (e.g., federal exposure limits, workplace procedure protocols, protective gear such as goggles, respirator use, gloves, and coveralls) have been put in place to minimize acutely toxic exposure levels. However, questions remain regarding the effect of repeated exposures at lower (than regulated) levels of JP fuel. The Occupational JP8 Exposure Neuroepidemiology Study (OJENES) was designed to examine the relationships between occupational JP8 exposure over multiple, repeated workdays and specific aspects of central nervous system (CNS) functioning among Air Force (AF) personnel. In this report, we present the OJENES methodology, descriptive findings related to participant characteristics, JP8 exposure levels observed over a work week among higher and lower exposure groups, and neuropsychological task performances at the first study assessment. Results indicated minimal differences between participants in the high and lower exposure groups in terms of descriptive characteristics, other than daily JP8 exposure levels (p<0.001). In addition, neuropsychological task performances for most task measures were not found to be significantly different from reported reference ranges. These findings demonstrated that confounding and misclassification of exposure and outcome status are not major concerns for the study. Therefore, future OJENES analyses targeting the more focused research questions regarding associations between JP8 exposure and CNS functioning are likely to provide valid conclusions, as they will be less influenced by these research biases.
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