Occupational Asthma Reference

Piirila P, Keskinen H, Anttila S, Hyvonen M, Pfaffli P, Tuomi T, Tupasela O, Tuppurainen M, Nordman H, Allergic alveolitis following exposure to epoxy polyester powder paint containing low amounts (<1%) of acid anhydrides, Eur Respir J, 1997;10:948-951,

Keywords: Finland, alveolitis, EAA, anhydride, case report, polyester, PEF, phtlalic, trimellitic

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Henrik Nordman, Finnsh Institute of Occupational Health Henrik Nordman

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Only one case report concerning allergic alveolitis caused by polyester powder paint has been published previously. The aim of this study was to determine whether phthalic anhydride (PA) or trimellitic anhydride (TMA) is the alveolitis-causing agent in such paint. A 61 year old woman showed recurrent symptoms of chills, cough, and fever whilst at work. She was working in a plant where epoxy polyester powder paints were used to paint metal. The paint was found to contain low (<1%) amounts of TMA and PA. The patient showed shadowing on chest radiographs. In bronchoalveolar lavage, lymphocytosis (67%) and a low T-helper/T-suppressor ratio (0.2) were found. Transfer factor was within normal limits, but a slight reduction was verified after re-exposure to the paint. The symptoms, exposure, reduction in transfer factor, findings on chest radiographs and bronchoalveolar lavage were consistent with allergic alveolitis. In conclusion, the polyester powder paint used in the plant caused allergic alve olitis in this patient. Of the constituents in the paint, trimellitic anhydride and phthalic anhydride were the possible causative agents.

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