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Respiratory health effects from occupational exposure to wood dusts.
Goldsmith DF; Shy CM
Scand J Work Environ Health 1988 Feb; 14(1):1-15
The risk of nonmalignant respiratory disease resulting from exposure to wood dust was reviewed through case studies and epidemiological evidence. The types of wood which have caused documented cases of such diseases were listed. The effects observed in susceptible individuals have included asthma, rhinitis, dyspnea, wheezing, nocturnal tight chestedness, cough, reduced pulmonary function, upper respiratory irritation, hypersensitivity, sweating, pneumonitis, bronchitis, rhinorrhea, fever, sneezing, and nasal itching. The patients studied had exposure periods ranging from a few days to 18 years. Extracts of some of these woods have produced positive wheals when skin patch tests were done. In the asthma syndrome produced by exposure to western red-cedar, plicatic-acid (16462650) has been identified as the causative agent. Epidemiological studies on respiratory effects of exposure to western red-cedar and other woods were compared. Nasal clearance and nasal mucosa changes, early precursors of nasal cancer, have been investigated in woodworkers and other subjects. Rhinitis and nasal dysplasia were found to be common among European furniture workers. It was hypothesized that after decades of exposure to fine wood dust, tissue injury is produced which may eventually initiate mucostasis and metaplasia, leading to adenocarcinoma of the nasal sinuses. The authors recommend that pulmonary injury or symptoms be examined as possible precursors of nasal cancer and other respiratory conditions in woodworkers.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Dust-inhalation; Respiratory-irritants; Lung-irritants; Airborne-dusts; Plant-dusts; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Lung-function; Pulmonary-function-tests; Author Keywords: nasal clearance; pulmonary function; respiratory symptoms; western red cedar asthma; woodworker's asthma
Dr DF Goldsmith, Northern California Occupational Health Center, LEHR, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Issue of Publication
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division