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Pulmonary disease in workers exposed to papain: clinical, physiological, and immunological studies.
Novey HS; Keenan WJ; Fairshter RD; Wells ID; Wilson AF; Culver BD
Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, T01-OH-07053, 1982 Aug; :1-30
The pulmonary effects of papain (9001734) exposure were studied among 23 employees who worked at a company that manufactured a soft contact lens cleaning product. Medical histories were obtained, and subjects underwent pulmonary function and immunological testing. Moderate to severe pulmonary symptoms were found in 12 workers. The presence of immunoglobulin-E (IgE) was correlated with decreased lung volumes and expiratory flow rates and total serum. Specific IgE and precipitating antibodies against papain were correlated with symptomatology, pulmonary function test results, duration and intensity of papain exposure, and atopic history. When 5 of the 12 workers with respiratory symptoms were interviewed 4 to 11 months after job reassignment, all were asymptomatic but abnormal lung function and immunological reactions persisted. The authors conclude that papain acts as an inhalant allergen and is a potent sensitizer in humans. Pulmonary reactions involve inflammation of small airways, alveolar, and interstitial lung tissue, producing symptoms resembling bronchitis and interstitial lung disease. Immunoserological and pulmonary function monitoring is recommended for exposed workers along with the use of personal protective and engineering control measures.
NIOSH-Grant; Training; Enzymes; Work-practices; Optical-aids; Cleaning-compounds; Immunology; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Physiology; Allergic-reactions; Clinical-symptoms; Author Keywords: Papain; pulmonary disease; asthma; occupational lung disease; allergic lung disease
Community and Environ Medicine University of California Dept of Cmnty & Environ Med Irvine, Calif 92664
Final Grant Report
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
University of California Irvine, Irvine, California
Page last reviewed: February 4, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division