Reduced performance in tests of memory and visual abstraction in seamen exposed to industrial solvents

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1990 Feb;81(2):114-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.1990.tb06462.x.


Eighty-five seamen exposed to a variety of organic solvents and hydrocarbon compounds during their work on chemical tankers were compared with 59 unexposed seamen. Visual memory, auditory memory and visual abstraction were examined 14 days or more after the last solvent exposure. Multivariate analyses were performed to control the effects of confounding factors such as age, alcohol consumption, smoking, cerebral concussions and educational level. Significant correlations were found between increasing solvent exposure and poor results in tests of auditory memory and visual abstraction. These results indicate adverse psychological effects caused by chronic organic solvent exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Concept Formation / drug effects*
  • Form Perception / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects*
  • Memory, Short-Term / drug effects
  • Mental Recall / drug effects*
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Norway
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / drug effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Ships*
  • Solvents / adverse effects*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Verbal Learning / drug effects


  • Solvents