Psychomotor Effects of Mixed Organic Solvents on Rubber Workers

O Aminian, S Hashemi, K Sadeghniiat-Haghighi, A Shariatzadeh, AH Naseri Esfahani


Background: Exposure to organic solvents is common among workers.

Objective: To assess neurobehavioral effects of long-term exposure to organic solvents among rubber workers in Tehran, Iran.

Methods: Across-sectional study was conducted on 223 employees of a rubber industry. The participants completed a data collection sheet on their occupational and medical history, and demographic characteristics including age, work experience, education level; they performed 6 psychiatric tests on the neurobehavioral core test battery (NCTB) that measure simple reaction time, short-term memory (digit span, Benton), eye-hand coordination (Purdue pegboard, pursuit aiming), and perceptual speed (digit symbol).

Results: Workers exposed and not exposed to organic solvents had similar age and education distribution. The mean work experience of the exposed and non-exposed workers was 5.9 and 4.4 years, respectively. The exposed workers had a lower performance compared to non-exposed workers in all psychomotor tests. After controlling for the confounders by logistic regression analysis, it was found that exposure to organic solvents had a significant effect on the results of digit symbols, digit span, Benton, aiming, and simple reaction time tests. No significant effect was observed in pegboard test.

Conclusion: Occupational exposure to organic solvent can induce subtle neurobehavioral changes among workers exposed to organic solvents; therefore, periodical evaluation of the central nervous system by objective psychomotor tests is recommended among those who are chronically exposed to organic solvents.


Benzene; Toluene; Gasoline; Occupational exposure; Rubber; Neuropsychology

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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