Hydrocarbon exposure has been shown to play an important role in the development of renal dysfunction in several occupational settings. In this study, renal screening was performed in a group of paint sprayers with exposure to hydrocarbon-based paints, recruited from a car manufacturing plant where personal protective equipment was widely used. The hydrocarbon exposure scores and various markers of renal injury were compared between these subjects and a group of paint sprayers from a previous study who did not use personal protective equipment regularly. Cumulative hydrocarbon exposure scores were calculated from a validated questionnaire. Serum creatinine, urinary total protein, albumin, transferrin, retinol-binding protein, and N-acetylglucosaminidase were evaluated, Both groups experienced heavy hydrocarbon exposure but sprayers who regularly used personal protective equipment had significantly reduced exposure scores due to improved skin and respiratory protection. A significant number of sprayers from both groups had elevated levels of serum creatinine. Interestingly, urinary N-acetylglucosaminidase activity, a marker of proximal tubular damage, was abnormal in a significant proportion of sprayers in the unprotected group but normal in those with improved protection. Our results are in keeping with the hypothesis that hydrocarbon exposure through paint spraying may result in active proximal tubular damage which may be reduced by improvement of protection at the worksite. However, renal impairment independent of tubular injury may result from chronic paint exposure, even with improved protection.