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Respiratory function in workers employed in the glassblowing industry.
Zuskin E; Butkovic D; Schachter EN; Mustajbegovic J
Am J Ind Med 1993 Jun; 23(6):835-844
A study of respiratory function in glassblowers was conducted. The cohort consisted of 80 male glassblowers, mean age 34 years, employed in a glass making factory in Zagreb, Croatia. They had been employed as glassblowers an average of 15 years. The comparisons consisted of 80 male clerical workers, mean age 32 years. About 87% of the glassblowers and 75% of the comparisons were smokers. The subjects completed a respiratory symptom questionnaire. Pulmonary function testing was performed. The prevalence of chronic bronchitis, nasal catarrh, chronic sinusitis, and chronic nasal bleeding was significantly higher in the glassblowers than in the comparisons. The prevalence of these symptoms was not significantly influenced by the length of employment as a glassblower. A large number of glassblowers reported acute symptoms such as dry throat, dry nose, eye irritation, and epistaxis. Significant over shift increases in forced vital capacity (FVC) and maximal expiratory flow at 50 and 25% of FVC were seen in the glassblowers. Preshift FVC and 1 second forced expiratory volume values were significantly greater in the glassblowers than in the comparisons. Preshift residual volume (RV) and the RV/total lung capacity ratio were significantly higher and vital capacity was significantly lower in the glassblowers than in the comparisons. Carbon-monoxide transfer factors were similar in both groups. Pulmonary function was not significantly altered by the presence of chronic bronchitis. The authors conclude that work in the glassblowing industry contributes to the development of respiratory symptoms such as chronic bronchitis, nasal catarrh, sinusitis, and nasal bleeding. Glassblowers also show significant over shift changes in lung function. The physiological significance of these changes is not clear.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Glass-workers; Pulmonary-function-tests; Clinical-symptom
Medicine Mount Sinai Medical Center One Gustave L Levy Place New York, N Y 10029
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York
Page last reviewed: September 25, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division