In 25 years, at least eight of 50 total exposed employees in a small plant developed a mild neuropathy. Studies of urine or blood for lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, thallium, and antimony revealed no sign of toxic agents, but the atmosphere in one room contained toxic levels of n-hexane. The source was the glue used in the plant. Serum cholinesterase levels were reduced, offering a possible laboratory test to alert clinicians to the possibility of n-hexane exposure. All patients recovered completely. Mechanical and administrative adjustments should prevent such industrial accidents.
(Arch Intern Med 136:880-882, 1976)