Monday, July 18, 2005

Hearing loss and solvents

The target of this investigation is how neurological damage from chemical exposure can most easily be measured. In the '80's, investigators notioned that standard psychological or other neurobehavioral tests could be adminstered to workers exposed to chemicals, to give quantitative measures to symptoms, or to reveal effects before symptoms were felt.

BrooklynDodger has the impression that this plan failed. Significant deficits on these tests are not seen at levels of exposure where the participants are definitely "buzzed." After all, bars are frequently equipped with pool tables, dart boards and pinball machines, and some blackjack players are successful in the face of free drinks.

Another line of investigation is to exploit a quantitative measure of neurological function with no cognitive aspect. There's a literature on color vision and solvent exposure. This paper finds an effect on audiometry.

J Occup Environ Med. 2005 Mar;47(3):212-8.

Effects of concurrent noise and jet fuel exposure on hearing loss.

Kaufman LR, LeMasters GK, Olsen DM, Succop P.
Rocky Mountain Center for Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Utah, 391 Chipeta Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA.

...Noise-exposed subjects, with or without jet fuel exposure, underwent hearing tests. Work histories, recreational exposures, protective equipment, medical histories, alcohol, smoking, and demographics were collected by questionnaire. Jet fuel, solvent, and noise exposure data were collected from records. Fuel exposure estimates were less than 34% of the OSHA Threshold Limit Values. ...Subjects with 3 years of jet fuel exposure had a 70% increase in adjusted odds of hearing loss (OR = 1.7; 95% CI = 1.14-2.53) and the odds increased to 2.41 (95% CI = 1.04-5.57) for 12 years of noise and fuel exposure. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that jet fuel has a toxic affect on the auditory system.

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