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Acute toxic leukoencephalopathy in migrant workers exposed to organic solvents in construction materials
  1. Taomian Mi1,
  2. Chongyu Han2,
  3. Yuan Wang1,
  4. Hongmei Ma2,
  5. Jianping Jia1,
  6. Yuchuan Ding3,
  7. Fatema Esmail3,
  8. Jun Chen2,
  9. Lihua Peng2,
  10. Jia Xu2,
  11. Yong-Xin Sun1
  1. 1Department of Neurology, Xuan Wu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
  2. 2Department of Neurology, You Anmen Hospital, Beijing, China
  3. 3Department of Neurological Surgery, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, USA
  1. Correspondence to Yong-Xin Sun, No. 45 Changchun Street, Xi Cheng District, Beijing, 100053, China; sisisun{at}

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Organic solvents are widely used in the construction industry. Migrant workers, an important source of construction workers in China, are at risk of solvent intoxication. Here we describe two young male migrant workers who were diagnosed with acute toxic leukoencephalopathy due to intense exposure to organic solvents contained in construction materials.

Patient 1 had been applying tape to pipes in non-ventilated, underground apartments for 5 days before he developed a slow reaction time, headache, nausea and vomiting. He worked 10 h per day with a 10-min break in both the morning and the afternoon. The adhesive tape he used produced a strong smell, and he did not wear any personal protective equipment. Patient 2 had been painting internal walls for 6 days before he developed headache, nausea, vomiting, diplopia and intermittent drowsiness. He worked in confined spaces for up to 8 h at a time without any protective equipment. He complained …

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