To clarify the effects of organic solvents on the postural balance system, 29 male sandal, shoe, and leather factory workers exposed to n- hexane, xylene, and toluene (solvent workers) were examined by computerized static posturography with sway frequency analysis. Concentrations of metabolites of solvents in urine samples taken from the workers in the morning before work ranged from 0.41 to 3.06 (mean, 1.20) mg/g creatine (Cn) for 2,5-hexanedione, from 0.10 to 0.43 (mean, 0.19) g/g Cn for methylhippuric acid, and from 0.05 to 2.53 (mean, 0.37) g/g Cn for hippuric acid; estimated concentrations of n-hexane in workplace air ranged from 13 to 100 (mean, 40) ppm. Control subjects were 22 healthy males without exposure to solvents. With eyes open, postural sway with a frequency of 2-4 Hz in solvent workers was significantly larger than that in controls in the anteroposterior direction. With eyes closed, sway with a frequency of 0-1 Hz was significantly larger in solvent workers in the mediolateral and anteroposterior directions. Results of multiple regression analysis showed that with eyes open the 1- to 2-Hz and 2- to 4-Hz sways were related positively to 2,5-hexanedione and inversely with methylhippuric acid. The pattern of changes suggests that the vestibulocerebellar and spinocerebellar afferent systems are asymptomatically affected by n-hexane; the effect of n- hexane on the vestibulocerebellar system is possibly inhibited by xylene.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science(all)