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Work-related asthma and respiratory symptoms among workers exposed to metal-working fluids.

Rosenman-KD; Reilly-MJ; Kalinowski-D
Am J Ind Med 1997 Oct; 32(4):325-331
The prevalence of asthma and respiratory symptoms among workers exposed to metalworking fluids was examined. The Michigan Department of Public Health received 86 reports of occupational asthma related to exposure to metalworking fluids 1988 to 1994. Follow up industrial hygiene inspections, including interviews with 755 workers, were conducted at 37 facilities. The types of metalworking fluids used by the facilities were determined by reviewing the material safety data sheets. Air sampling was performed in 22 facilities. Oil mist exposure levels exceeded the OSHA standard of 5mg/m3 in only one facility. At 18 facilities with oil mist exposure levels below 5mg/m3, 77 of 429 workers developed either asthma or asthmatic symptoms since working with metalworking fluids. At 13 facilities where no air sampling was conducted, 75 of 306 workers developed either asthma or asthmatic symptoms since working with metalworking fluids. Mineral oil fluids were used in 12 facilities, emulsified oil fluids were used in nine facilities, semisynthetic fluids were used in two facilities, and synthetic fluids were used in 13 facilities. The prevalence of chronic bronchitis and doctor visits for respiratory symptoms was highest among workers exposed to synthetic metalworking fluids and lowest among workers exposed only to mineral metalworking fluids. Respiratory symptoms were less common among workers exposed to mineral oils than among other workers. Most workers with asthma worked in facilities which used synthetic metalworking fluids. Cigarette smoking status had no bearing on the results. The authors conclude that further study is needed in order to determine the chemical components and biological contaminants in metalworking fluids which are deleterious to respiratory health.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Metal-workers; Oil-mists; Metalworking-industry; Mineral-oils; Bronchial-asthma; Occupational-exposure; Respiratory-system-disorders
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Journal Article
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Cooperative Agreement
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Source Name
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Performing Organization
Department of Consumer & Industry Service, Michigan Department of Public Health