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, 60 (1), 39-49

Neurasthenic Symptoms in Workers Occupationally Exposed to Jet Fuel

Neurasthenic Symptoms in Workers Occupationally Exposed to Jet Fuel

B Knave et al. Acta Psychiatr Scand.


Long-term exposure to petroleum distillation products (e.g. jet fuel) has been suggested to cause chronic mental and neurological symptoms. In the present "cross-sectional epidemiological study" the extent of neuropsychiatric ill-health in 30 workers exposed to jet fuel was compared with that in 60 non-exposed matched controls. Standardized medical interviews showed a higher occurrence of neurasthenic symptoms in exposed subjects (P less than 0.001). The result was confirmed by examination of the medical records kept by the factory physician (P less than 0.01). The prevalence of psychiatric symptoms was assessed with a rating scale of 37 items (a modified CPRS). Again, the exposed workers scored higher than the controls (P less than 0.001), particularly regarding the neurasthenic symptoms, i.e. fatigue, anxiety, mood changes, memory difficulties, and various psychosomatic symptoms (P less than 0.01). The results could neither be explained by observer's bias, nor by a greater susceptibility for mental disorders in the exposed subjects. We therefore conclude that occupational exposure to jet fuel vapours around the present threshold limit values may induce a neurasthenic syndrome.

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