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Respiratory health effects associated with restoration work in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans.

Rando RJ; Lefante JJ; Freyder LM; Jones RN
J Environ Public Health 2012 Dec; 2012:462478
Background. This study examines prevalence of respiratory conditions in New Orleans-area restoration workers after Hurricane Katrina. Methods. Between 2007 and 2010, spirometry and respiratory health and occupational questionnaire were administered to 791 New Orleans-area adults who mostly worked in the building construction and maintenance trades or custodial services. The associations between restoration work hours and lung function and prevalence of respiratory symptoms were examined by multiple linear regression, X(2), or multiple logistic regression. Results. 74% of participants performed post-Katrina restoration work (median time: 620 hours). Symptoms reported include episodes of transient fever/cough (29%), sinus symptoms (48%), pneumonia (3.7%), and new onset asthma (4.5%). Prevalence rate ratios for post-Katrina sinus symptoms (PRR = 1.3; CI: 1.1, 1.7) and fever and cough (PRR = 1.7; CI: 1.3, 2.4) were significantly elevated overall for those who did restoration work and prevalence increased with restoration work hours. Prevalence rate ratios with restoration work were also elevated for new onset asthma (PRR = 2.2; CI: 0.8, 6.2) and pneumonia (PRR = 1.3; CI: 0.5, 3.2) but were not statistically significant. Overall, lung function was slightly depressed but was not significantly different between those with and without restoration work exposure. Conclusions. Post-Katrina restoration work is associated with moderate adverse effects on respiratory health, including sinusitis and toxic pneumonitis.
Respiratory-system-disorders; Emergency-response; Construction; Construction-workers; Hazardous-materials; Hazardous-waste-cleanup; Spirometry; Pulmonary-function-tests; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Lung-disorders; Lung-function; Health-surveys; Questionnaires; Maintenance-workers; Bronchial-asthma
Roy J. Rando, Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, 1440 Canal Street, Suite 2100, New Orleans, LA 70112-2704, USA
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Priority Area
Construction; Services
Source Name
Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Performing Organization
Tulane University of Louisiana
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division