Toxic polyneuropathy of shoe workers in Italy. A clinical, neurophysiological and follow-up study

Ital J Neurol Sci. 1983 Dec;4(4):463-72. doi: 10.1007/BF02125628.


Cases of polyneuropathy due to exposure to industrial solvents have been studied at several shoe factories in the province of Siena. After the screening of 654 employees 98 verified cases were detected. Of these, 16 were rated as moderate to severe, 45 as mild, and 37 were minimally involved but with characteristic electrodiagnostic abnormalities. Follow-up study in 53 patients showed that neurological signs and symptoms as well as electrodiagnostic abnormalities continued for years in several patients. In addition, after a year's observation, some patients showed signs of central nervous system dysfunction such as spasticity of the lower limbs and increased deep tendon reflexes. High percentages of commercial n-hexane were found in all the samples of glues and solvents collected from home-workers and from factories where cases of polyneuropathy occurred.

MeSH terms

  • Adhesives / toxicity*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hexanes / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Conduction
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis
  • Polyneuropathies / chemically induced*
  • Polyneuropathies / diagnosis
  • Reflex, Stretch / drug effects
  • Shoes*
  • Solvents / toxicity*
  • Time Factors


  • Adhesives
  • Hexanes
  • Solvents