Research Projects



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Interventions to reduce solvent exposure and associated ill health in collision-repair workers

Exposure to solvents has been associated with a range of serious long-term health effects, including neurobehavioural symptoms, cognitive deficits and cancer.

A recent study conducted by the Centre for Public Health Research showed that collision repair workers are at risk of mood, memory and concentration symptoms, and cognitive deficits. Solvent levels were shown to be high during particular work tasks (e.g. degreasing car panels, cleaning spray equipment), illustrating the need for improvements in exposure controls for these workers.

This cluster randomized controlled trial in 200 collision repair workers intends to identify effective intervention strategies to reduce solvent exposures. We will measure solvent exposure levels before and after the implementation of interventions to control exposures which we have been identified and designed with input from the industry. We will also determine the effect of these interventions on a range of biomarkers and health parameters.

Based on our findings, worker-friendly information and educational materials will be developed including concrete, practical and easy to understand guidelines to reduce exposure to solvents in this industry.

October 2017


  • Professor Chris Cunningham
  • Massey University, NZ
  • Professor Hans Kromhout
  • Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • Professor Tony LaMontagne
  • Deakin University, Australia
  • Professor Jochen Mueller
  • Queensland University, Australia
  • Professor Janet Leathem
  • Massey University, NZ
  • Professor David Fishwick
  • University of Sheffield, UK
  • Professor Martie van Tongeren
  • University of Manchester, UK
  • Dr Aaron Blair
  • National Cancer Institute, USA


  • Health Research Council of New Zealand