Chapter

Environment Exposure to Pollutants

Volume 834 of the series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology pp 1-13

Date:

Effects of Exposure to Welding Fume on Lung Function: Results from the German WELDOX Study

  • M. LehnertAffiliated withInstitute of Prevention and Occupational Medicine, German Social Accident Insurance (IPA), Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum Email author 
  • , F. HoffmeyerAffiliated withInstitute of Prevention and Occupational Medicine, German Social Accident Insurance (IPA), Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum
  • , K. GawrychAffiliated withInstitute of Prevention and Occupational Medicine, German Social Accident Insurance (IPA), Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum
  • , A. LotzAffiliated withInstitute of Prevention and Occupational Medicine, German Social Accident Insurance (IPA), Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum
  • , E. HeinzeAffiliated withInstitute of Prevention and Occupational Medicine, German Social Accident Insurance (IPA), Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum
  • , H. BerresheimAffiliated withInstitute of Prevention and Occupational Medicine, German Social Accident Insurance (IPA), Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum
  • , R. MergetAffiliated withInstitute of Prevention and Occupational Medicine, German Social Accident Insurance (IPA), Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum
  • , V. HarthAffiliated withInstitute for Occupational and Maritime Medicine
  • , R. Van GelderAffiliated withInstitute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA)
    • , J.-U. HahnAffiliated withInstitute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA)
    • , A. HartwigAffiliated withInstitute for Applied Bioscience, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
    • , T. WeißAffiliated withInstitute of Prevention and Occupational Medicine, German Social Accident Insurance (IPA), Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum
    • , B. PeschAffiliated withInstitute of Prevention and Occupational Medicine, German Social Accident Insurance (IPA), Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum
    • , T. BrüningAffiliated withInstitute of Prevention and Occupational Medicine, German Social Accident Insurance (IPA), Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum
    • , for the WELDOX Study Group

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

The association between exposure to welding fume and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been insufficiently clarified. In this study we assessed the influence of exposure to welding fume on lung function parameters. We investigated forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), FEV1/FVC, and expiratory flow rates in 219 welders. We measured current exposure to respirable particles and estimated a worker’s lifetime exposure considering welding techniques, working conditions and protective measures at current and former workplaces. Multiple regression models were applied to estimate the influence of exposure to welding fume, age, and smoking on lung function. We additionally investigated the duration of working as a welder and the predominant welding technique. The findings were that age- and smoking-adjusted lung function parameters showed no decline with increasing duration, current exposure level, and lifetime exposure to welding fume. However, 15 % of the welders had FEV1/FVC below the lower limit of normal, but we could not substantiate the presence of an association with the measures of exposure. Adverse effects of cigarette smoking were confirmed. In conclusion, the study did not support the notion of a possible detrimental effect of exposure to welding fume on lung function in welders.

Keywords

Chronic obstructive lung disease Cumulative exposure Occupation Respirable particle matter Respiratory impairment