For the period 1961-80, 118 cases of industrial gassings caused by the solvents methylene chloride, xylene, toluene, and styrene were reported to Her Majesty's Factory Inspectorate. The data have been collated and analysed according to the predetermined criteria of age, sex, mode and circumstances of use, clinical effect, and outcome. The means of collection of the data and their objectivity is discussed. The study shows the narcotic effect of these solvents and underlines the dangers of their use in confined spaces. Symptoms were most commonly attributable to the nervous and respiratory systems. The problem of addiction and the vulnerability of the younger worker is also discussed.
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