A follow-up study of respiratory function in workers exposed to acid aerosols in a food-processing industry.
Zuskin-E; Mustajbegovic-J; Schacher-EN; Pavcic-D; Budak-A
Int Arch Occup Environ Health 1997 Dec; 70(6):413-418
A study of lung function changes in food processing workers occupationally exposed to acid aerosols was conducted. This was a follow up to a study conducted 2 years (yr) earlier among 152 females employed in a Croatian pickling factory. They pickled vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, and cabbages. The work involved exposure to heated vinegar vapor which consisted of 4 to 10% acetic-acid (64197). Only 49 workers, mean age 30.6yr, were available for follow up. Most of the subjects lost to follow up had lost their jobs because of the economic crisis in Croatia. The subjects completed a questionnaire to describe their smoking habits and respiratory symptoms experienced during the 2yr period. Pulmonary function was performed over the subjects' first working day. Ten subjects were light regular smokers, smoking an average of ten cigarettes per day. Twenty nine smokers were lost to follow up. In the original study, five of 152 workers had been diagnosed with occupational asthma. Only one of these remained in the follow up study. No new cases of occupational asthma occurred during the follow up period. No significant changes in work related acute or chronic respiratory symptoms were reported during the follow up period. Smoking related increases in symptoms such as hoarseness and rhinitis were reported. In the workers lost to follow up, maximal flow rates assessed at 50% (FEF50) and 25% of forced vital capacity (FEF25) had been significantly decreased. At follow up, FVC, one second forced expiratory volume (FEV1), FEF50, and FEF25 were significantly decreased. The decrements were greater in the smokers. Industrial hygiene monitoring revealed acetic-acid concentrations of 19 to 40mg/m3 in the subjects' workplace. The Croatian acetic-acid standard is 25mg/m3. The authors conclude that work in the pickling industry, particularly in small, poorly regulated workplaces, is associated with adverse effects on respiratory function.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Cancer; Acid-mists; Acetic-acids; Occupational-exposure; Lung-function; Food-processing-workers; Respiratory-system-disorders; Clinical-symptoms; Pulmonary-function-tests; Cigarette-smoking
Work Environment Univ of Lowell Research Fdn 450 Aiken St Lowell, MA 01854
International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts