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The Relation of Occupational Organic Solvent Exposure to Symptom Reporting in a Sample of White and Chinese Midlife Women

Green, Rochelle S. PhD; Gold, Ellen B. PhD; Samuels, Steven J. PhD; Dosemeci, Mustafa PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: April 2005 - Volume 47 - Issue 4 - p 410-423
doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000158709.64716.06
Original Articles

Objective: This study examined the relation of occupational solvent exposure to menopausal and other symptoms in midlife women.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 480 Chinese and 494 white women, aged 40–55 years, in Northern California. Levels of exposure to organic solvents (none, low, medium, or high) were assigned to each current job using a job-exposure matrix.

Results: A lower proportion of women with low occupational organic solvent exposure reported hot flashes or night sweats than working women with no solvent exposure (adjusted prevalence odds ratio [APOR] = 0.48, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.19–1.21). A greater proportion of women with high solvent exposure reported forgetfulness than women with no exposure (APOR = 2.51, 95% CI = 1.12–5.63).

Conclusions: Some symptom reporting in midlife women was related to their occupational organic solvent exposure.

From the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, California Environmental Protection Agency, Oakland, California (Dr Green); the Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Epidemiology, University of California, Davis, California (Drs Green, Gold, and Samuels); the Department of Epidemiology, University at Albany, School of Public Health, Rensselaer, New York (Dr Samuels); and the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland (Dr Dosemeci).

Address correspondence to: Rochelle S. Green, PhD, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, California Environmental Protection Agency, 1515 Clay Street, 16th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612; E-mail:

©2005The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine