Occupational Asthma Reference

Cummings KJ, Stanton ML, Kreiss K, Boylstein RJ, Park J, Cox-Ganser JM, Virji MA, Edwards NT, Segal LN, Blaser MJ, Weissman DN, Nett RJ, Work-related adverse respiratory health outcomes at a machine manufacturing facility with a cluster of bronchiolitis, alveolar ductitis and emphysema (BADE), Occup Environ Med, 2020;77:386-392.,http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/oemed-2019-106296

Keywords: metalworking fluid, USA HP, bronchiolitis, endotoxin, FEV1, ep, cs, BADE

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Kay Kreiss, NIOSH, Morgantown USA Kay Kreiss

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Four machine manufacturing facility workers had a novel occupational lung disease of uncertain aetiology characterised by lymphocytic bronchiolitis, alveolar ductitis and emphysema (BADE). We aimed to evaluate current workers’ respiratory health in relation to job category and relative exposure to endotoxin, which is aerosolised from in-use metalworking fluid.

We offered a questionnaire and spirometry at baseline and 3.5?year follow-up. Endotoxin exposures were quantified for 16 production and non-production job groups. Forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) decline =10% was considered excessive. We examined SMRs compared with US adults, adjusted prevalence ratios (aPRs) for health outcomes by endotoxin exposure tertiles and predictors of excessive FEV1 decline.

Among 388 (89%) baseline participants, SMRs were elevated for wheeze (2.5 (95% CI 2.1 to 3.0)), but not obstruction (0.5 (95% CI 0.3 to 1.1)). Mean endotoxin exposures (range: 0.09–28.4 EU/m3) were highest for machine shop jobs. Higher exposure was associated with exertional dyspnea (aPR=2.8 (95% CI 1.4 to 5.7)), but not lung function. Of 250 (64%) follow-up participants, 11 (4%) had excessive FEV1 decline (range: 403–2074?mL); 10 worked in production. Wheeze (aPR=3.6 (95% CI 1.1 to 12.1)) and medium (1.3–7.5 EU/m3) endotoxin exposure (aPR=10.5 (95% CI 1.3 to 83.1)) at baseline were associated with excessive decline. One production worker with excessive decline had BADE on subsequent lung biopsy.

Lung function loss and BADE were associated with production work. Relationships with relative endotoxin exposure indicate work-related adverse respiratory health outcomes beyond the sentinel disease cluster, including an incident BADE case. Until causative factors and effective preventive strategies for BADE are determined, exposure minimisation and medical surveillance of affected workforces are recommended.

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