The biological effect of occupational long term low level exposure to organic solvents was studied in 17 car repair painters and 28 car mechanics, and compared with a control group consisting of 46 healthy men not exposed to organic solvents. The erythrocyte count (RBC) was significantly decreased for both the painters and the mechanics compared with the control group, and a significant increase in the mean erythrocyte volume (MCV) was seen in painters. The mode in size distribution of the erythrocytes (MAXRBC) was shifted towards larger cell volumes for both painters and mechanics. When data from painters and mechanics were combined, the exposed group showed a significantly reduced erythrocyte count (RBC), an increased mean erythrocyte volume (MVC), and an increased mean platelet volume (MPV) compared with the controls. Exposure measurements in combination with analysis of haematological parameters may be a tool for early detection of cellular changes in the blood caused by exposure to solvents, before the appearance of clinical symptoms.
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