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Health Promot Perspect. 2018 Oct 27;8(4):296-302. doi: 10.15171/hpp.2018.42. eCollection 2018.

Evaluation of occupational exposure to different levels of mixed organic solvents and cognitive function in the painting unit of an automotive industry.

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Department of Occupational Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran.


Background: The cognitive function could be affected following exposure to organic solvents.The purpose of this study was to examine the cognitive performance of workers exposed to different levels of organic solvents in a painting unit of an automotive industry. Methods: This case-control study was conducted, in 2017, on 121 and 111 workers from the painting and assembly units of an automotive industry as the case and control groups,respectively. Exposure of workers to organic solvents were determined according to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) method. The cognitive performance of the studied population was evaluated by the computerized tests. Results: The obtained scores of the N-Back in 1 and 2 blocks and the simple reaction time tests(SRTTs) were significantly differed in the exposed group (p<0.05). No significant difference was observed between case and control groups in the Stroop test score (p> 0.05). Moreover, a significant relationship between the hazard quotient and the cognitive function test scores were observed except the Stroop test. Conclusion: Exposure to organic solvents affect the cognitive functions even below the Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs). Moreover, workers with high exposure levels of organic solvents had highest risk of poor memory and reaction time.


Automotive industry; Cognitive function; Occupational exposure; Painting unit; Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

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