A cross sectional study was carried out to compare 110 paintmakers exposed to solvents with 110 age matched controls for outcome measures designed to assess cognitive performance and mental health. Hygiene data available for the paintmakers allowed the development of individual indices of solvent exposure and the analyses of health effects in relation to both duration and intensity of exposure. No effects on cognitive functioning or mental health were found in the paintmakers. For most of their period of employment the exposure of the paintmakers had been below current occupational exposure limits. The results are therefore interpreted as providing support for the view that long term exposure at or below current compliance levels does not result in damage to the central nervous system.
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