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An Analysis of the Effects of Smoking and Occupational Exposure on Spirometry and Arterial Blood Gases in Bituminous Coal Miners in Southern West Virginia.

Cander-L; Rasmussen-DL; Obuchowski-N; Rockette-H
NIOSH 1990 Sep:137-140
The effects of smoking and occupational dust exposure on spirometry and arterial blood gases in bituminous coal miners were examined. The cohort consisted of 2725 active or former workers employed in bituminous coal mines in southern West Virginia who were being evaluated for disability. Information on smoking and number of years in mining was obtained. One second forced expiratory volumes (FEV1s) were measured. Blood samples were collected from the radial artery to determine oxygen and carbon-dioxide tensions and pH. A total of 732 miners (27%) were classified as being disabled according to criteria of the Federal Black Lung Program. Approximately 14% of the subjects who never smoked, almost 26% of the exsmokers, and 34% of the smokers met the disability criteria. The overall percentage of subjects who were disabled and who had blood gas abnormalities was 17.8%. When stratified by years spent underground the percentage of subjects with blood gas abnormalities increased with increasing years of underground exposure. The overall proportion of disabled miners with decreased FEV1s was 4.7%. The percentage of disabled miners with decreased FEV1s did not vary with years of underground exposure. The authors conclude that inhaling coal mine dust significantly affects lung function and arterial blood gases in the absence of cigarette smoking. Impairment of the oxygenating function of the lung appears to be the major functional pulmonary problem induced by coal mine dust. Arterial blood gas analysis is an important component of a disability evaluation of persons applying for benefits under the Federal Black Lung Program.
Coal-miners; Disabled-workers; Coal-dust; Occupational-exposure; Cigarette-smoking; Blood-gas-analysis; Pulmonary-function-tests; Respiratory-system-disorders;
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings;
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 90-108
Priority Area
Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease; Disease and Injury; Respiratory-system-disorders;
Source Name
Proceedings of the VIIth International Pneumoconioses Conference