Loss of lung function among sheet metal workers: ten-year study.
Glencross-PM; Weinberg-JM; Ibrahim-JG; Christiani-DC
Am J Ind Med 1997 Nov; 32(5):460-466
In an effort to identify predictors of loss of pulmonary function and the development of asbestosis or asbestos related pleural fibrosis in sheet metal workers occupationally exposed to asbestos, the relationship between exposure and pulmonary function was assessed in 122 shipyard workers over a 10 year period. The subjects were sheet metal workers in New England who had participated in two voluntary union screenings, about 10 years apart. Based on lung function studies, 74% of the workers were considered to have no impairment. The presence of an obstructive deficit was related to pack years of smoking. No radiological evidence of diffuse pleural thickening was identified in any workers; six had parenchymal changes and 40% had circumscribed pleural plaques. One analysis demonstrated a significantly accelerated loss of forced vital capacity in workers with pleural plaques; relatively larger decrements in the forced expiratory volume at 1 second (FEV1) were seen among smokers. Accelerated loss of FEV1 was identified in smokers with more total years of asbestos exposure. Shipyard work did not predict decreased FEV1 in nonsmokers; however, the results suggested that nonsmokers with remote exposure to asbestos also had greater loss of FEV1. No relationship was identified between pleural plaques and loss of pulmonary function. The authors conclude that the degree of loss of lung function over the 10 year period studied was related to asbestos exposure intensity and that asbestos exposed workers have accelerated obstructive pulmonary changes.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Pulmonary-system-disorders; NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Training; Asbestos-workers; Pulmonary-function; Occupational-exposure; Shipyard-workers; Lung-function; Cigarette-smoking; Lung-disorders; Humans;
Author Keywords: pulmonary function decline; sheet metal workers; asbestos exposure; shipyard work
Environmental Science & Physiology Department, Harvard School of Public Health, 665 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115
American Journal of Industrial Medicine