Effect of Chronic Low-Level Exposure to Jet Fuel on Postural Balance of US Air Force Personnel

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This study used the postural stability technique to investigate the neurological effects of cumulative low-level exposure to raw JP-8 jet fuel vapor on aircraft maintenance personnel. All subjects performed two sets of four 30-second postural sway tests. The results of mean cumulative exposure levels (in parts per million ± standard error of mean) were the following: naphthas, 1308 ± 292; benzene, 21.2 ± 5.7; toluene, 23.8 ± 6.1; and m-,o-, p-xylene, 22.7 ± 5.4. Covariate adjusted regression analysis of the exposed group data showed a statistically significant association (P > 0.05) between the solvents (benzene, toluene, and xylene) and increased postural sway response. For all solvent exposures, the "eyes closed, on foam" test provided the strongest association between sway length and JP-8 benzene (r2 range, 0.45 to 0. 52), implying subtle influence on vestibular/proprioception functionalities.

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