There is an abundant literature on the adverse effects of solvents on the neurobehavioral performance, higher brain functions, and chronic solvent-induced encephalopathy. However, the occurrence of solvent-related schizophrenia is rare, with few reports on the link between solvent exposure and schizophrenia. Here, we report on a patient with schizophrenia, presenting after a sustained period of 6 months of everyday exposure to neurotoxic solvents in an unprotected occupational setting in Haifa, Israel. In light of the similarity of symptoms of schizophrenia and chronic solvent encephalopathy, we call for further epidemiologic studies to examine the potential contribution of solvent exposure to the etiology and evolution of schizophrenia in selected cases. This case study and review of relevant literature underscores the importance of obtaining detailed histories on occupational exposures to search for agents which can trigger psychotic episodes. In the meantime, policies to prevent such exposures at the source can be expected to contribute to the prevention of a non-trivial proportion of neurotoxic diseases, including, possibly, schizophrenia in worker populations.
- Case report
- Environmental and occupational exposures
- Organic solvents
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