Occupational Asthma Reference
Exposure to bioaerosols: allergic reactions and respiratory function in Polish hop growers,
Am J Industr Med,
Keywords: Poland, hops, air measurements, endotoxin, peak flow, prevalence
BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of work-related symptoms in hop growers and their relation to bioaerosols exposure. The study group comprised 69 hop growers and 58 office workers as controls. The examination included: physician-administrated questionnaire, PEF measurements, skin prick test, agar-gel precipitation test, and migration inhibition test. Microbiological air sampling was performed on all farms.
RESULTS: The concentrations of total airborne microflora ranged from 2.08 to 129.6 x 10(3) CFU/m3. Airborne endotoxin and dust concentrations ranged from 26 to 6250 ng/m3 and 0.2-31.7 mg/m3, respectively. Altogether 52.2% of farmers complained of work-related symptoms. Positive skin reactions to microbial allergens were significantly more frequent in a group of hop growers with work-related respiratory symptoms compared to the rest of the farmers (18% vs 2%, P <0.05). Positive reactions in agar-gel precipitation test and in the leukocyte migration inhibition test were not correlated with the occurrence of work-related symptoms. The mean daily PEF values in farmers were lower compared to controls (469.7 +/- 127.5 vs 562.9 +/- 123.8; P <0.001). PEF (amp%mean) was higher in farmers compared to controls (9.3% vs 8.1%; P <0.05).
CONCLUSION: Despite relatively lower exposure to bioaerosols, compared to farmers in other branches of agriculture, over 50% of hop growers complained of work-related symptoms. This may be partly due to the effects of microbial allergens and toxins and partly to the irritant or allergic properties of hop plant itself.
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