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Advances in Preventive Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 183728, 10 pages
Research Article

Neuropsychological Symptoms among Workers Exposed to Toluene and Xylene in Two Paint Manufacturing Factories in Eastern Thailand

1Department of Industrial Hygiene and Safety, Faculty of Public Health, Burapha University, Chonburi 20131, Thailand
2Department of Public Health Foundations, Faculty of Public Health, Burapha University, Chonburi 20131, Thailand
3Department of Community Medicine, Family Medicine and Occupation Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Burapha University, Chonburi 20131, Thailand
4Occupational Medicine Center, Samitivej Sriracha Hospital, Chonburi 20230, Thailand

Received 12 May 2015; Revised 1 July 2015; Accepted 9 July 2015

Academic Editor: William C. Cho

Copyright © 2015 Anamai Thetkathuek et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The study analyzed the exposure factors that may lead to neuropsychological symptoms among 92 workers who were exposed to xylene and toluene and 100 workers who were not exposed to the solvents. The airborne concentration of xylene and toluene was evaluated with personal passive badges. The levels of methyl hippuric acid and hippuric acid in urine were assessed, and interviews were performed to observe the neuropsychological symptoms that may result from exposure to the solvents. The result showed that the average concentration for the exposed group of xylene in the paint company working environment was 2.7 (SD = 2.4) ppm and the average concentration of toluene was 9.5 (SD = 10.4) ppm. The average level of methyl hippuric acid in urine was 78 (SD = 74.7) mg/g creatinine. Factors that affected the neuropsychological symptoms included the following. (1) The impact of age: the risk (adjusted odds ratio) for getting psychosomatic symptoms in persons over 40 and exposed to xylene was 9.5 and the aOR of those exposed to toluene was 8.3. (2) The impact of not providing personal protective equipment was found to be sleep disturbance; it was found that the aOR of those exposed to xylene was 3.9, and the aOR of those exposed to toluene was 4.4. In summary, periodic examination of workers by occupational physician is needed for detection of early neuropsychological effects, especially psychosomatic symptoms, and sleep disturbances.