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Acute pulmonary responses among automobile workers exposed to aerosols of machining fluids.

Kennedy SM; Greaves IA; Kriebel D; Eisen EA; Smith TJ; Woskie SR
Am J Ind Med 1989 Jun; 15(6):627-641
Cross-shift respiratory function changes were monitored among 89 machine operators at two factories producing automobile parts, to measure any increases in the rates of cough and phlegm resulting from exposure to machining fluid aerosols. The findings were compared to pulmonary function measurements taken in 42 unexposed assembly workers studied at the same factories. Spirometry was performed before and after working hours on Monday and Friday of a working week. Also on these two days the workers wore a personal air sampling device during the work shift. In 23.6 percent of the machinists and in 9.5 percent of the control group the Monday readings demonstrated a 5 percent or greater decrease in the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV-1). The odds ratio for an FEV-1 response was calculated to be 4.4 for workers exposed to mineral-oil aerosols, 5.8 for those exposed to oil emulsions, and 6.9 for those exposed to synthetic fluids. FEV-1 responses recorded on Friday were similar to those on Monday, with no progressive decline in FEV-1 being noted over the space of the week. The total aerosol concentrations to which the assembly workers were exposed ranged from 0.07 to 0.44mg/m3 and those for the machinists ranged from 0.16 to 2.03mg/m3. The authors conclude that acute airway obstruction was associated with exposure to aerosols of various machining fluids and that these responses occurred at exposure levels far below those currently recommended as permissible.
Automotive-industry; Automobile-repair-shops; Metalworking; Metalworking-fluids; Spirometry; Aerosols; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Lung-disorders; Lung-function; Bronchial-asthma; Fluids; Machine-operators; Air-sampling; Air-sampling-equipment; Machinists; Smoking; Pulmonary-function-tests; Mineral-oils; Oils; Synthetics; Cutting-oils; Coolants; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-limits; Air-flow; Airway-resistance; Inhalation-studies; Equipment-operators; Machine-shop-workers; Author Keywords: cutting oils; coolants; machining operations; aerosol levels; spirometry; exposure-response models
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-T15-OH-007096; Grant-Number-T42-OH-007096
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Source Name
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Performing Organization
Harvard University, Boston Massachusetts
Page last reviewed: October 26, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division