Welders are exposed to airborne particles from the welding environment and often develop symptoms work-related from the airways. A large fraction of the particles from welding are in the nano-size range. In this study we investigate if the welders' airways are affected by exposure to particles derived from gas metal arc welding in mild steel in levels corresponding to a normal welding day.
In an exposure chamber, 11 welders with and 10 welders without work-related symptoms from the lower airways and 11 non-welders without symptoms, were exposed to welding fumes (1 mg/m3) and to filtered air, respectively, in a double-blind manner. Symptoms from eyes and upper and lower airways and lung function were registered. Blood and nasal lavage (NL) were sampled before, immediately after and the morning after exposure for analysis of markers of oxidative stress. Exhaled breath condensate (EBC) for analysis of leukotriene B4 (LT-B4) was sampled before, during and immediately after exposure.
No adverse effects of welding exposure were found regarding symptoms and lung function. However, EBC LT-B4 decreased significantly in all participants after welding exposure compared to filtered air. NL IL-6 increased immediately after exposure in the two non-symptomatic groups and blood neutrophils tended to increase in the symptomatic welder group. The morning after, neutrophils and serum IL-8 had decreased in all three groups after welding exposure. Remarkably, the symptomatic welder group had a tenfold higher level of EBC LT-B4 compared to the two groups without symptoms.
Despite no clinical adverse effects at welding, changes in inflammatory markers may indicate subclinical effects even at exposure below the present Swedish threshold limit (8 h TWA respirable dust).
Cites: Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol. 1973;45(1):57-604580380
OBJECTIVES: Powder painting is an alternative to solvent-based spray painting. Powder paints may contain organic acid anhydrides (OAAs), which are irritants to the airways and may cause sensitisation. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and immunological response among powder painters and to describe the exposure to OAAs. METHODS: In all, 205 subjects in 32 enterprises participated: 93 exposed and 26 formerly exposed workers in 25 powder paint shops and 86 unexposed workers. They completed a questionnaire about working conditions and symptoms and took part in a medical examination, which included a lung function test. Urine samples, for determination of two OAAs, and blood samples, for analysis of specific antibodies against the OAAs, were taken. In addition, 33 paint samples were analysed for nine OAAs. RESULTS: The powder painters reported more work-related respiratory symptoms than unexposed subjects did. The prevalence of three or more symptoms was 24% in subjects with low exposure, 44% in highly exposed individuals, 46% in formerly exposed subjects and 19% in unexposed workers. Asthma symptoms were frequent, 7%, 40%, 15% and 2%, respectively. Regression analyses of the lung volumes did not show any influence of exposure. IgG, but not IgE, against the OAAs and metabolites of OAAs was found in some subjects, but no associations with the exposure could be observed. OAAs were found in only small amounts in the paint samples. CONCLUSIONS: The exposure to organic acid anhydrides was estimated to be low, and yet, IgG antibodies to OAA were observed in some subjects. The prevalence of work-related symptoms from the eyes and the airways was relatively high among the powder painters, and these symptoms, but not the lung volumes, were clearly related to exposure. The symptoms were probably caused by irritative properties of the powder paint dust.
OBJECTIVES: This study investigated the exposure-response relationships of hexahydrophthalic anhydride (HHPA) and methylhexahydrophthalic anhydride (MHHPA) and evaluated the applicability of the total plasma protein adducts (TPPA) of these anhydrides as biomarkers of exposure and risk. METHODS: In a cross-sectional study of 139 workers in a plant manufacturing electrical capacitors, the long-term exposure to HHPA and MHHPA was assessed through the quantification of TPPA using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Smoking and medical histories were obtained through questionnaires. Work-related symptoms of the eyes and airways were recorded. Specific immunoglobulin (Ig) E (radioallergosorbent test) and IgG (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) were determined in serum. RESULTS: The mean level of the TPPA of HHPA was 840 fmol/ml and that of the TPPA of MHHPA was 1700 fmol/ml. There was no correlation between the TPPA of HHPA and the TPPA of MHHPA. Of all the workers, 19% were found to be positive for specific IgE and 17-19% for IgG. Positive associations were observed between HHPA exposure and specific IgE and IgG and between MHHPA exposure and specific IgG. Regarding work-related symptoms, 27% of the workers had symptoms of the nose, 21% had symptoms of the eyes, 11% had symptoms of the lower airways, and 8% had nose bleeding. There were significant exposure-response relationships for symptoms of the eyes and nose for HHPA exposure. CONCLUSIONS: The results show that there is an exposure-response relationship for HHPA both with specific antibodies and with work-related symptoms and down to adduct levels of 40 fmol/ml plasma. In addition, the results elucidate the potential power of TPPA as a relevant index of exposure and risk.
Welding fume consists of metal fumes, e.g., manganese (Mn) and gases, e.g., ozone. Particles in the respirable dust (RD) size range dominate. Exposure to welding fume could cause short- and long-term respiratory effects. The prevalence of work-related symptoms among mild steel welders was studied, and the occupational exposure to welding fumes was quantified by repeated measurements of RD, respirable Mn, and ozone. Also the variance components were studied.
A questionnaire concerning airway symptoms and occupational history was answered by 79% of a cohort of 484 welders. A group of welders (N = 108) were selected and surveyed by personal exposure measurements of RD and ozone three times during 1 year.
The welders had a high frequency of work-related symptoms, e.g., stuffy nose (33%), ocular symptoms (28%), and dry cough (24%). The geometric mean exposure to RD and respirable Mn was 1.3 mg/m(3) (min-max 0.1-38.3 mg/m(3)) and 0.08 mg/m(3) (min-max
To identify changes in gene expression in the airways among welders, with and without lower airway symptoms, working in black steel.
Included were 25 male, non-smoking welders. Each welder was sampled twice; before exposure (after vacation), and after 1 month of exposure. From the welders (14 symptomatic, of whom 7 had asthma-like symptoms), RNA from induced sputum was obtained for gene expression analysis. Messenger RNA from a subset of the samples (n = 7) was analysed with microarray technology to identify genes of interest. These genes were further analysed using quantitative PCR (qPCR; n = 22).
By comparing samples before and after exposure, the microarray analysis resulted in several functional annotation clusters: the one with the highest enrichment score contained "response to wounding", "inflammatory response" and "defence response". Seven genes were analysed by qPCR: granulocyte colony-stimulating factor 3 receptor (CSF3R), superoxide dismutase 2, interleukin 8, glutathione S-transferase pi 1, tumour necrosis factor alpha-induced protein 6 (TNFAIP6), interleukin 1 receptor type II and matrix metallopeptidase 25 (MMP25). Increased levels of CSF3R, TNFAIP6 and MMP25 were indicated among asthmatic subjects compared to non-symptomatic subjects, although the differences did not reach significance.
Workers' exposure to welding fumes changed gene expression in the lower airways in genes involved in inflammatory and defence response. Thus, microarray and qPCR technique can demonstrate markers of exposure to welding fumes and possible disease-related markers. However, further studies are needed to verify genes involved and to further characterise the mechanism for welding fumes-associated lower airway symptoms.
BACKGROUND: Airway diseases in hairdressers are a concern. The objective of this investigation is to evaluate the risk for three respiratory symptoms, wheeze, dry cough, and nasal blockage, in hairdressers. METHODS: A questionnaire on respiratory symptoms, atopy, smoking, and work history was answered by 3,957 female hairdressers and 4,905 women from the general population as referents. Incidence rates (IR) and incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for the three symptoms were estimated. RESULTS: The IRs of all three studied symptoms were higher in the hairdressers compared with the referents. Smoking modified the effects of cohort affiliation for all three symptoms; the combined effect from hairdressing work and smoking was less than expected. In addition, the effect of cohort affiliation for wheeze was also modified by atopy, and the effect of cohort affiliation for nasal blockage was also modified by calendar year. CONCLUSIONS: Hairdressing work was associated with increased incidences of respiratory symptoms. Smoking had a negative modifying effect.
We aimed to follow diary-registered symptoms from eyes and airways in mild steel welders and relate them to different exposure measures. Furthermore, we would clarify the influence of possible effect modifiers.
Non-smoking welders with (N = 74) and without (N = 32) work-related symptoms the last month were enroled. Symptoms and work tasks each day for three two-week periods during 1 year were obtained. Respirable dust (RD) was measured 1 day each period for each worker. The personal daily exposure was assessed as: (1) days at work, (2) welding time and (3) estimates of RD from welding and grinding, calculated from diary entries and measurements.
Only 9.2 % of the particle measurements exceed the Swedish occupational exposure limit (OEL; 5 mg/m(3)). Days at work increased the risk of symptoms studied: eyes: 1.79 (1.46-2.19), nasal: 2.16 (1.81-2.58), dry cough: 1.50 (1.23-1.82) and wheezing and/or dyspnoea: 1.27 (1.03-1.56; odds ratio, 95 % confidence interval). No clear dose-response relationships were found for the other exposure estimates. Eye symptoms increased by number of years welding. Nasal symptoms and dry cough increased having forced expiratory volume in first second below median at baseline. Wheezing and/or dyspnoea increased in winter, by number of years welding, having a negative standard skin-prick test and having a vital capacity above median at baseline.
The current Swedish OEL may not protect welders against eye and airway symptoms. The results add to the evidence that welders should be offered regular medical surveillance from early in the career.
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Hairdressers have several work-related health hazards. Little is known of their strategies for the work environment. The aim of this study was to explore female hairdressers' own views on their physical, social and psychological work environment and possibilities of influencing it, implementation of their knowledge, financial impacts and how work-related symptoms affect their views.
Fourteen hairdressers working for four years were subjected to open-ended interviews covering aspects of the physical, social and psychological work environment. Content analysis was applied.
An awareness of the impact of the work environment and the possibilities of influencing it emerged, but also an inability to achieve preventive improvements. This included reflections concerning ventilation, health issues, job strain, hair products, financial issues, knowledge from school and concern for having to leave the profession. The organization and acceptance of the work environment were important issues. Making the work environment an active part of their business was not common.
Female hairdressers had an awareness of their work environment but lacked the means and strategies to make it an active part of their business. The main focus was on the customers and the work techniques. Having various symptoms did not alter this. Organizational and financial issues could put limitations on the work environment. Teachers were crucial in making the work environment interesting. Hairdressing was seen with advantages and disadvantages, and its future was seen as being insecure in terms of the occupational health risks. The hairdressers expressed a great pride in their profession providing possibilities for development.