Paint and Glue Fumes Mess With Your Brain For Decades

TIME

We’re exposed to solvents all the time – they’re used in detergents, dry cleaning, paint, glue and furniture polishes – but how are they affecting our health? Most studies focus on relatively short term effects – a few years or so.

So Erika Sabbath, a research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health and her colleagues decided to take the long view. Taking advantage of data from France, they analyzed solvent exposure among retired electric utility workers at the national company, many of whom started working in their 20s. They correlated that information with results from a series of eight memory and thinking tests that the workers took on average 10 years after they retired.

MORE:Is Spring Cleaning a Health Risk?

“What was really surprising was that some people, whose last exposure was 30 year to 50 years before the assessment, were still exhibiting some cognitive difficulties after…

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