Floorlayers and age matched carpenters with long (greater than or equal to 20 years) and short (5-10 years) occupational experience were compared with respect to chronic and acute neuropsychiatric, neuropsychological, and general health effects as related to different types of solvent exposure. An increased prevalence of neuropsychiatric illness occurred among floorlayers with long occupational experience, possibly caused by high levels of exposure which were present until the 1970s. The disease appears partly reversible since, at the time of the investigation, all had essentially recovered. Some impairment of performance in psychological tests was seen, however, in this group. Visuoanalytical impairment was associated with indices of exposure to glues based on alcohols whereas contact adhesives appeared more deleterious to perceptual functions. The increased prevalence of neuropsychiatric symptoms among the floorlayers was interpreted to reflect mainly acute effects on the central nervous system.
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