Those who have loved ones exposed to solvents from paint or glue on a regular basis should urge those people to reconsider their jobs, according to a new study found by the researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health.
In general, solvents are used for over a million purposes: dissolving and mixing with oils, resins, varnishes, ink; to remove paint, varnish lacquers; to clean brushes tools, and even hands. As a result, quite a lot of people are exposed to it on a daily basis, in which long-term exposure to high concentrations may cause brain damage.
In this study, though, it was shown that the exposure to these solvents can actually have long-term effects and start you on a spiral downward. Meaning, you might simply not recover.
The study involved over 2,000 retired workers at a French utility company, in which a majority of them had started working and being exposed to these solvents in their teens and early 20s, most of which retired mid-50s.
The workers were tested in a series of 8 memory exercises, each one progressively more challenging than the last. These tests were created specifically to check the performance of their brain when compared to a control group who were not exposed to solvents, or were simply exposed in minimal amounts.
What was found was that the workers experiencing cognitive impairment over 30 years ago still seemed to show difficulty accomplishing even the simplest tasks such as recalling simple concepts like the species of animals.
This shows that even after a long break after a long period of exposure, the cognitive impairment and overall problems in the brain still persist. This was increasingly alarming and eye-opening concerning the people working in such fields, and whether their work environment is well ventilated enough, for example.
Those who have loved ones working in such fields should be aware of this and if possible, sway them away – or at least warn them of the possibility of lifelong impairment.