Samuel Keer

Doctor of Philosophy, (Public Health)
Study Completed: 2019
College of Health


Thesis Title
Solvent Neurotoxicity in Vehicle Collision Repair Workers

Previous studies have shown that vehicle collision repair workers may be at risk of solvent-induced neurotoxicity. Changes in industry practices may have resulted in reduced exposures, but little research has been conducted, particularly in the past decade, to confirm this. Mr Keer assessed airborne solvent exposure levels and their determinants, and the prevalence of symptoms of neurotoxicity and cognitive performance in 370 New Zealand collision repair workers. Results showed that despite average airborne solvent exposures being below occupational exposure limits, collision repair workers reported significantly more symptoms and performed more poorly on cognitive function tests than an unexposed comparison group. Furthermore, consistent use of personal protective equipment, particularly gloves, and good workplace hygiene practices reduced the risk of symptoms, in some cases by up to 90%. These findings provide a strong evidence-base for the development and implementation of intervention programmes to reduce solvent exposures and associated morbidity in this population.

Professor Jeroen Douwes
Dr Dave McLean
Professor William Glass