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Education May Protect Brain From Exposure to Solvents
Date:5/29/2012

less-educated workers, compared to their peers with no exposure.

Moreover, the less-educated workers with a high level of exposure to benzene were 24 percent more likely to have problems with their thinking skills, and those with significant exposure to non-benzene aromatic solvents were 36 percent more likely to have such problems.

"These findings suggest that efforts to improve quality and quantity of education early in life could help protect people's cognitive abilities later in life," Berkman said. "Investment in education could serve as a broad shield against both known and unknown exposures across the lifetime. This is especially important given that some evidence shows that federal levels of permissible exposure for some solvents may be insufficient to protect workers against the health consequences of exposure."

While the study uncovered an association between education level, solvent exposure and thinking skills, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

More information

The U.S. Department of Labor has more about the health effects of exposure to solvents.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology, news release, May 28, 2012


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