Neuropsychological performance in solvent-exposed vehicle collision repair workers in New Zealand.

Keer, S; Glass, B; McLean, D; Harding, E; Babbage, D; Leathem, J; Brinkmann, Y; Prezant, B; Pearce, N; Douwes, J; (2017) Neuropsychological performance in solvent-exposed vehicle collision repair workers in New Zealand. PLoS One, 12 (12). e0189108. ISSN 1932-6203 DOI:

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To assess whether contemporary solvent exposures in the vehicle collision repair industry are associated with objectively measured neuropsychological performance in collision repair workers. The RBANS battery and additional tests were administered to 47 vehicle collision repair and 51 comparison workers randomly selected from a previous questionnaire study. Collision repair workers performed lower on tests of attention (digit span backwards: -1.5, 95% CI -2.4, -0.5; digit span total: -1.7, CI -3.3, -0.0; coding: -6.1, CI -9.9, -2.8; total attention scale: -9.3, CI -15.9, -2.8) and the RBANS total scale (-5.1, CI -9.1, -1.2). Additional tests also showed deficits in visual attention and reaction time (Trails B: -11.5, CI -22.4, -0.5) and motor speed/dexterity (coin rotation dominant hand & non-dominant: -2.9, CI -5.3, -0.4 and -3.1, CI -5.6, -0.7 respectively). The strongest associations were observed in panel beaters. Applying dichotomised RBANS outcomes based on the lowest percentile scores of a normative comparison group showed strongly increased risks for attention (5th percentile: OR 20.1, 95% CI 1.5, 263.3; 10th percentile: 8.8, CI 1.7, 46.2; and 20th percentile: 5.1, CI 1.5, 17.6, respectively). Those employed in the industry for ≤ 17 years (the median work duration) generally had lower scores in the attention domain scale and RBANS total scale compared to those employed >17 years suggesting a healthy worker survivor bias, but trends were inconsistent for other domains. This study has found significant deficits in cognitive performance in collision repair workers despite low current airborne exposures in New Zealand.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Medical Statistics
PubMed ID: 29236771


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