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A regression approach to the analysis of serial peak flow among fuel oil ash exposed workers.

Hauser R; Daskalakis C; Christiani DC
Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1996 Oct; 154(4):974-980
Associations between fuel oil ash exposure and changes in peak expiratory flow rates (PEFRs) were examined in 31 boilermakers and 31 utility workers, who were involved in overhauling a large oil fired boiler and turbine at an electric power station in Massachusetts. The subjects completed a questionnaire, and performed PEFR monitoring five times daily for up to 13 consecutive days during the boiler overhaul. Occupational exposures to particles having aerodynamic diameters of 10 micrometers or smaller (PM10) were estimated from diary information and the results of limited personal air monitoring. Associations between the PM10 exposures and PEFR data recorded at the start and end of a shift and at bedtime were examined by linear logistic regression techniques. Sixteen subjects did welding work during the boiler overhaul. They reported welding histories of 1 to 32 years. The workday PM10 exposures averaged 2.75mg/m3 for the boilermakers and 0.57mg/m3 for the utility workers. After adjusting for job title, welding work, age, height, smoking habits, and number of years of welding work, PM10 exposures were significantly positively associated with decreases in PEFRs recorded at the end of the shift and at bedtime, each 1mg/m3 decrease in PM10 resulting in decreases in PEFR of 13.2 and 9.9 liters per minute (l/min), respectively. The incremental decrease in PEFR measured at the start of the shift the following morning was 6.6l/min. The authors conclude that occupational exposure to fuel oil ash is significantly associated with acute decrements in PEFR. The acute airway response to fuel oil ash was found to decrease in the 24 hour period following exposure, although it was still present. These results and the results of a spirometry study of the same group of workers suggest that fuel oil ash exposure is associated with acute and short term decrements in lung function.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Combustion-products; Occupational-exposure; Electric-power-generation; Particulates; Pulmonary-function-tests
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Issue of Publication
Source Name
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Performing Organization
Harvard School of Public Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division