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Utility of quantitated sputum cytology to detect the effects of exposure in smokers and nonsmokers.

Roby TJ; Swan GE; Schumann GB; Enkema LC Jr.
Proceedings of the VIIth International Pneumoconioses Conference, August 23-26, 1988, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Atlanta, GA: 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. 90-108, 1990 Nov; (Part II):1368-1372
A pilot study was conducted to determine whether the effects of occupational exposure are observable in both nonsmokers and smokers and whether these effects could be discriminated from the effects of cigarette smoking. Also evaluated was whether there was a measurable additive or synergistic effect in the group of smokers who also had exposure to occupational toxins. Four groups (smokers, exposed and nonexposed; and nonsmokers, exposed and nonexposed) of approximately 25 individuals each were randomly selected from a pool of over 1800 subjects. The occupational exposures in this group included asbestos (1332214), arsenic (7440382), beryllium (7440417), coal, carbon-dioxide (124389), diesel fuel, dust (logging industry), fiberglass, insulation, smoke from chemical and other fires, and welding. Significant cytologic differences were determined between nonsmokers and smokers. The results indicated that quantitative sputum cytology was able to detect measurable differences in subpopulations of nonsmokers with and without exposure to occupational irritants. Of particular note was the elevation of neutrophils, mucus, columnar and metaplastic cells in the exposed nonsmoker group. This suggested that early indications of bronchial irritation due to inhalation of environmental toxins can be monitored. The authors conclude that there is no significant synergistic effect in the presence of both cigarette smoking and exposure to an occupational irritant.
Respiratory system disorders; Lung disease; Pulmonary function tests; Lung cells; Cell damage; Lung irritants; Inhalants; Occupational exposure; Cigarette smoking
1332-21-4; 7440-38-2; 7440-41-7; 124-38-9
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 90-108
Source Name
Proceedings of the VIIth International Pneumoconioses Conference, August 23-26, 1988, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Page last reviewed: June 15, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division