Impairment of color vision among workers exposed to low concentrations of styrene

Am J Ind Med. 1994 Oct;26(4):481-8. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700260405.


A field study was conducted among 21 male workers exposed to styrene of concentration below 30 ppm in a fiber-reinforced plastic boat manufacturing plant. Twenty-one male workers with similar age groupings, years of education, and social and occupational state served as referents. The mean end-of-shift urinary mandelic acid (MA) and phenylglycoxylic acid (PGA) for the exposed workers were 84 mg/g creatinine and 66 mg/g creatinine, respectively. The Lanthony D-15 Hue Desaturated Panel was used to evaluate color discrimination of the exposed and referent groups. The results of the test were expressed as total color difference score (TCDS). The exposed workers' mean TCDS (a higher score denotes poorer color discrimination ability) was significantly (p < 0.0006) higher than the referents'. Neurobehavioral tests were also conducted, using the World Health Organization's Neurobehavioral Core Test Battery (NCTB). All the results of the NCTB were poorer for the exposed than for the referents. However, significant differences were observed only for Digit Span, Digit Symbol, and Benton Visual Retention tests. These results suggest that low exposure to styrene could affect some psychometric performance and may impair color vision.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Color Perception Tests
  • Color Vision Defects / chemically induced*
  • Demography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Ships*
  • Styrenes / adverse effects*
  • Styrenes / urine
  • Time Factors


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Styrenes