OBJECTIVE: Investigating the degree of exposure to organic solvents and related genotoxic consequences in paint-factory workers by using cytogenetic monitoring and determining micronuclei frequency in lymphocytes and DNA damage as assessed by comet assays. METHODOLOGY: Excretion of phenol and hippuric and methylhippuric acids in urine was investigated as biomarkers for benzene, toluene and xylene exposure. Urine samples were taken in two paint-factories in Bogota and in a non-exposed control group. Benzene, toluene and xylene concentrations in air were measured in the work setting. Micronuclei and simple DNA chain breakage frequency were evaluated in peripheral blood sample mononuclear cells to assess early genetic effects. RESULTS: Hippuric acid concentration was found to be within normal values; by contrast, phenol and methylhippuric acid sample concentrations were above normal values by 3,3 % and 50,8 %, respectively. Benzene concentration in air was above permissible limits in one of the factories. There were no statistical differences regarding genetic biomarkers between exposed and non-exposed workers. CONCLUSIONS: Organic solvent levels in the samples were apparently low, which is consistent with the absence of genotoxicity in cells. This study represents a step forward in research in occupational health surveillance.