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Study of the prevalence of chronic, non-specific lung disease and related health problems in the grain handling industry.

Rankin J; Bates J; Claremont A; Dennis W; doPico GA; Flaherty D; Reddan W; Reed C; Roa P; Tsiatis A
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 86-117, 1986 Oct; :1-359
A total of 310 grain handlers was studied, with attention given to prevalence and characteristics of clinical, psychological, immunological, radiological, serological blood and urine parameters to determine any apparent effects from grain dust exposure. Grain handlers had a higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms and signs than did the city workers who comprised the comparison group. Evidence of accumulative respiratory effect due to recurring exposures to grain dust was found. Acute and chronic airway reactions were induced by exposure to grain dust. Wheezing and dyspnea on exposure were related to length of employment. Grain fever syndrome was prevalent. Cases of acute recurrent conjunctivitis and rhinitis were found along with skin pruritus, mainly on exposure to barley dust. Pesticide exposure caused temporary disabling symptoms. Lung function was adversely affected by grain dust exposure. Exposure to grain mites and insects in contaminated cereal grain caused a reaction among grain workers. A low prevalence of positive reactions to grain antigens was found. Atopic workers were more likely to become sensitized to antigens extracted from grain dust and the insects or mites which are commonly found in cereal grains. Workers with atopy or skin reactivity to grain dust antigens were more likely to have lower lung function values than nonreactors. No specific x-ray abnormalities were noted. Levels of serum IgA and IgG were enhanced, an effect which appeared to be blunted by smoking.
NIOSH-Contract; Contract-210-76-0175; Grain-elevator-workers; Grain-elevators; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Food-processing-industry; Dust-inhalation; Dust-exposure
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DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 86-117; Contract-210-76-0175
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division