The aim of this study was to assess the respiratory status in salmon-processing workers.
The study population was composed of 139 salmon workers and 214 controls. A study protocol comprised a questionnaire, spirometry, measurements of fractional exhaled nitric oxide concentration, and total and specific immunoglobulin E analyses.
Adjusted odds ratio of general respiratory symptoms ranged from 2.2 for wheezing to 3.6 for daily morning cough. Salmon workers were found to have an excess of work-related respiratory symptoms (2.9 = adjusted odds ratio = 13.6) and reduced lung function. Positive interaction of smoking and exposure was found for work-related upper respiratory symptoms and shortness of breath. Fractional exhaled nitric oxide concentration levels were higher in controls. None from the controls had salmon-specific immunoglobulin E, compared with 2.2% of salmon workers.
Salmon-processing workers exhibit impaired respiratory status and are more likely to be sensitized to salmon.