The aim of this study was to assess the neurobehavioral effects of lifetime solvent exposure by comparing the performance of painters and demographically comparable controls.
Performance of exposed painters (N = 133) was compared with unexposed tapers, glaziers, or carpenters (N = 78) on the following domains: motor/perceptual speed, visual contrast, attention, working memory/planning, and visual and verbal memory. Lifetime exposure was estimated with questionnaires, field measurements, and paint composition.
After controlling for confounders, lifetime solvent exposure did not predict reduction in performance for overall domains of function. Lifetime solvent exposures predicted subtle alterations for individual tests of verbal learning, motor coordination, and visuospatial accuracy.
Concentrations of solvents in paints have steadily declined during the working lifetime of subjects in this study. Although reduced performance was observed on individual tests, these alterations were not consistent across tests and unlikely to be of clinical significance.