Chronic toxic encephalopathy in solvent-exposed painters in Denmark 1976-1980: clinical cases and social consequences after a 5-year follow-up

Am J Ind Med. 1987;11(4):399-417. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700110403.


On the basis of previous investigations from occupational medicine, neurology, and neuropyschology, a retrospective evaluation was made of 21 painters in whom chronic toxic encephalopathy following exposure to organic solvents had been diagnosed during a stay in the Neurology Department of Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen, in the period 1976-1980. All the painters had given up their jobs for this reason. The assumption of a causal relationship between the exposure and the intellectual impairment was supported by a possible dose-effect relationship. The chronic toxic symptoms had considerable social consequences. Five years later, ten had not gotten other jobs. The lack of working ability was correlated to advancing age, increasing exposure, and increasing intellectual impairment. According to the results of the study, conditions at work places ought to be changed in such a way that harmful exposure can be prevented in the future.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Brain Diseases / physiopathology
  • Brain Diseases / psychology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Denmark
  • Electroencephalography
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intelligence / drug effects
  • Male
  • Memory / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology
  • Occupational Diseases / psychology
  • Paint*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Solvents / adverse effects*
  • Syndrome
  • Work Capacity Evaluation*


  • Solvents