Neurobehavioral changes among shipyard painters exposed to solvents

Arch Environ Health. Jan-Feb 1985;40(1):47-52. doi: 10.1080/00039896.1985.10545888.


Painters in three shipyards, exposed to a wide variety of solvents, were examined. A short battery of performance tests, a detailed occupational history, and a special questionnaire to assess acute (prenarcotic, transitory) and chronic (persistent) neurologic symptoms was administered. The results of the neurobehavioral performance tests demonstrated decrements in central nervous system function in painters when compared with a control group matched for age, sex, race, and education. The prevalence of reported acute neurological symptoms among painters was increased significantly compared to other occupational groups in the same yards; for chronic, persistent symptoms the difference was not statistically significant. Performance test scores were significantly, negatively correlated with chronic symptoms but not with acute symptoms. No significant correlations between performance test scores and duration of solvent exposure or between symptoms and duration of solvent exposure were observed. The reversibility of such symptoms and of decrements in central nervous system function after cessation of exposure is still uncertain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Chronic Disease
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology
  • Paint*
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Ships
  • Solvents / adverse effects*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Solvents