The Bay Area Solvent Study (BASS) is an epidemiologic research project taking place currently to find out whether exposure to solvents has caused any health effects among automotive mechanics. The results of the study will be used to establish appropriate limits for solvent exposure in the workplace. The study is being conducted by Dr. Katharine Hammond, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, in collaboration with researchers from the University of California at Davis, Stanford University and California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
BASS is supported by IAMAW Local 1546 and District 190. UC Berkeley has previously worked with the IAM on a study that led manufacturers to remove a toxic solvent from some cleaning products and now we want to study the health effects of several solvents automotive mechanics have used over the past 30 years, with the goal of preventing future injury.
Over the course of 2 years, we will be recruiting 1,200 male participants no older than 55 from Local 1546 who have worked as an auto mechanic before 2000. Researchers will be surveying solvent exposure during particular time-periods and at certain shops. Because of this complexity, we are not accepting volunteers for the study. Participants’ involvement must be limited by researchers to maintain the integrity of the data collected and in turn produce better research.
Participants will visit our study clinic in San Leandro to participate in an interview lasting 45 minutes and undergo a series of tests including memory, reflexes, nervous system and vision. Participants will also be asked to provide a urine sample, a saliva sample and will be tested for diabetes. We do not know if exposure to these solvents causes the health effects we have mention, but, rather, we want to see if there are health effects.
Results of the study will eventually be published in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals. No personal information will ever be published in any study reports or given to any person or agency not involved in the study.