The lungs of workers in lead (7439921) acid battery factories were examined. All workers thought to have been exposed to sulfuric-acid (7664939) in five factories were included in the survey as well as an equal number of workers in areas low in acid exposure. Spirometry measured forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), and peak flow and flow at 50 and 75 percent of FVC. Workers answered questionnaires asking about respiratory symptoms. The highest prevalence and largest difference between high and low exposure groups involved cough and eye irritation. Workers who often had symptoms at work had more of a change in FEV1 and flow at 50 percent of FVC than those without symptoms. There was no trend for workers with high acid exposure to have greater reductions of FEV1 over the work shift than those with low exposure. The authors conclude that there is no acute reduction in pulmonary function in workers exposed to sulfuric-acid. It is possible that tolerance to sulfuric-acid may develop in habitually exposed workers. (Part 2 of 3)
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