Cognitive Impairment and Peripheral Neuropathy by Mixed Organic Solvents in Spray Painters Working in a Shipbuilding Industry
조선소 도장부서 근로자의 혼합 유기용제 노출에 의한 인지기능 장애와 말초신경병증
주, 인수; 김, 장성; 허, 균; 김, 재일; 이, 경종; 정, 호근; 김, 광수
Taehan Sin'gyŏngkwa Hakhoe chi : sin'gyŏnghak, 18(3):311-318, 2000
Taehan Sin'gyŏngkwa Hakhoe chi : sin'gyŏnghak; Journal of the Korean Neurological Association : neurology
Background : Exposure to organic solvents becomes a common problem to workers of
heavy industries in Korea. A number of volatile organic solvents which are frequently used in painting can cause various derangements of the nervous system, especially cognitive impairments and peripheral neuropathy.
Methods : This study was carried out on 190 workers as a control group who had never been exposed to organic solvents and on 674 spray painters with long-term exposure to organic solvent mixtures. The major components of organic solvent mixtures were determined. All subjects underwent neurological examination as well as
routine physical check-up after completing questionnaires on general, musculoskeletal,
neuropsychiatric and neurological systems. Subjects with abnormal findings on
neurological examination related with the exposure of organic solvent mixtures took
further neuropsychological and neurophysiological tests.
Results : The prevalence rates of cognitive impairments and of peripheral neuropathy
in the exposed group were significantly higher than the control group (9.5% vs 2.1%
and 2.1% vs 0%, respectively). High exposure group (more than 2.64 of cumulative
exposure index, CEI) showed also higher prevalence of cognitive impairments and of
peripheral neuropathy than low exposure group (cognitive impairments; 12.3% vs 6.4%,
peripheral neuropathy; 2.3% vs 1.8%). Most common cognitive impairments were
attentional deficit, and abnormal sense on the extremities or face was most common
symptom of the peripheral nervous system.
Conclusions : The study is the first large-scale, case-control study extensively
evaluating cognitive impairments and peripheral neuropathy related with volatile organic solvent mixtures in spray painters working in a shipbuilding industry in Korea. The results show that the prevalence rates of cognitive impairments and of peripheral
neuropathy are relatively low, but clearly related with the exposure extent of organic
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