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Medical and industrial hygiene characterization of the cotton waste utilization industry.

Engelberg AL; Piacitelli GM; Petersen M; Zey J; Piccirillo R; Morey PR; Carlson ML; Merchant JA
Am J Ind Med 1985 Feb; 7(2):93-108
Morbidity and industrial hygiene were investigated in the cotton waste utilization industry. The prevalence of byssinosis, bronchitis, lung function impairment, and dust exposure were examined. Symptoms were assessed with a standard respiratory questionnaire. Forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) was measured before and after the work shift. Eight hour time weighted average dust exposures were determined throughout the waste utilization facilities. Results were compared to those for blue collar workers in a non dusty industry. Mean time weighted average dust concentrations ranged from 0.28 milligram/cubic meter (mg/m3) to 7.8mg/m3 at different facilities. Byssinosis was seen in 5.7 percent of cotton workers with less than 2 years in the industry and 6.1 percent of those with longer employment. Corresponding figures for the comparison group were 6.8 and 4.1 percent. Bronchitis was reported by 41.5 percent of short term cotton workers and 19.7 percent of those with longer employment compared to 21.4 and 11.1 percent of comparisons. FEV1 was less than 80 percent of that predicted in 13.2 percent of cotton workers with less than 2 years employment and 19.1 percent of long term cotton workers compared to 4.6 and 10.2 percent of long and short term comparison workers, respectively. The decrement in FEV1 over the work shift was greater than 10 percent in 14.9 percent of short term cotton workers, 11.5 percent of those with longer exposure, but 5 and 2.4 percent in the respective comparison groups. The authors conclude that exposure to dust in the cotton waste utilization industry produces both acute and chronic effects in workers. Acute effects are related to pulmonary function decrements, and chronic irritant effects produce bronchitis.
NIOSH-Author; Medical-research; Work-environment; Industrial-dusts; Respirable-dust; Occupational-respiratory-disease; Physiological-measurements; Lung-function; Pulmonary-function; Medical-surveys; Occupational-exposure; Employee-exposure
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Journal Article
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American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division