OBJECTIVE - To investigate possible neurotoxic effects in groups of aluminium pot room and foundry workers, aluminium welders, and a small group of workers exposed to aluminium in the production of flake powder.
METHODS - Exposure to aluminium was evaluated with aluminium concentrations in blood and urine as well as a questionnaire. The groups exposed to aluminium were compared with a group of mild steel welders. Neurotoxic effects were studied with mood and symptom questionnaires and several psychological and neurophysiological tests.
RESULTS - The pot room and foundry workers showed very low aluminium uptake as their aluminium concentrations in blood and urine were close to normal, and no effects on the nervous system were detected. The group of workers exposed to flake powder had high concentrations of aluminium in blood and urine, even higher than those of the aluminium welders. However, aluminium could not be shown to affect the functioning of the nervous system in flake powder producers. Although significant effects could not be shown in the present analysis of the data on welders, the performance of the welders exposed to high concentrations of aluminium was affected according to the analyses in the original paper from this group.
CONCLUSIONS - For the pot room and foundry workers no effects related to the exposure to aluminium could be found. For the group of flake powder producers exposed for a short term no effects on the nervous systems were evident despite high levels of exposure. Due to the high concentrations of aluminium in the biological samples of this group, measures to reduce the exposure to aluminium are recommended, as effects on the central nervous system might develop after protracted exposures. However, this assumption needs to be verified in further studies.
2001. Vol. 58, 453-60 p.