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Airway responsiveness and job selection: a study in coal miners and non-mining controls.
Petsonk-EL; Daniloff-EM; Mannino-DM; Wang-ML; Short-SR; Wagner-GR
Occup Environ Med 1995 Nov; 52(11):745-749
The possibility that airway responsiveness may be an indicator of job self selection based on health, and a potential marker of susceptibility to certain lung disorders related to coal was investigated. Volunteer miners were recruited from three large central Appalachian underground bituminous coal mines. Evaluations were made of the symptoms of the respiratory tract, lung function, occupational and smoking histories, and airway responsiveness from a cross sectional survey of 198 underground bituminous coal miners and 215 nonmining control subjects. An association was noted in both miners and controls with reduced ventilation lung function and an increased risk of respiratory symptoms as noted in the methacholine responsiveness. A low prevalence of methacholine responsiveness was noted in miners with the longest duration of work at the coal face compared with miners who had never worked at the coal face. Throughout their mining careers, miners who responded to methacholine were consistently less likely to have worked in dusty jobs than miners who did not respond to methacholine. The authors conclude that workers who are employed in dusty jobs are less likely than their unexposed coworkers to show incurred nonspecific airway responsiveness, presumably as a result of health related job selection. The authors suggest that surveys of workers in which responsiveness data are unavailable may underestimate the effects of dust exposure on respiratory health.
NIOSH-Author; Underground-miners; Mining-industry; Respiratory-system-disorders; Lung-function; Respiratory-hypersensitivity; Pulmonary-function-tests; Coal-dust; Dust-exposure; Occupational-exposure; Author Keywords: airway reactivity; coal mining; healthy worker effect; methacholine
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, Morgantown, WV 26505-2888
Issue of Publication
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division