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Title: Prevalence of neuropsychiatric and mucous membrane irritation complaints among Palestinian shoe factory workers exposed to organic solvents and plastic compounds
Authors: Takrori, F.
Nijem, K.
Kristensen, P.
Al-Khatib, A.
Bjertness, E.
Issue Date: 23-Jul-2001
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Citation: 25
Abstract: Background Long-term exposure to organic solvents is associated with neuropsychiatric and mucus membrane irritation. In developing countries, efforts to secure a good working environment are inadequate and protection against chemical exposures is often neglected. Methods In a cross-sectional survey, the prevalence of self-reported health complaints and the association with long-term exposure to solvents and plastic materials in the work environment was studied among 167 shoe-factory workers. Prevalences and adjusted prevalence ratios (PR)were calculated in Cox regression. 95% confidence intervals were estimated for PRs of adverse health effects. Results Overall, the workers reported high prevalences of neuropsychiatric and mucus membrane complaints: headache (65%), mental irritabilit (53%), tingling of limbs (46%), and sore eyes (43%). Cleaning work was associated with tingling of limbs (PR = 1.8, 1.0–3.2), sore eyes (PR = 1.9, 1.1–3.3), and breathing difficulty (PR = 2.0, 1.0–3.9); plastic work was associated with tingling of limbs (PR = 1.8, 1.2–2.9)and sore eyes (PR = 1.7, 1.1–2.7); and varnishing was associated with breathing difficulty (PR = 1.9, 1.1–3.5). Conclusions The high prevalence of self-reported health complaints and the exposure-outcome association could be due to volatile organic solvents (dichloromethane, n-hexane)and plastic compounds (isocyanates and polyvinyl chloride). Absence of a satisfactory work environment is likely to contribute to high exposure levels
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