Advertisement

Chronic and acute respiratory effects among grain mill workers

  • Catherine Gimenez
  • Kamal Fouad
  • Dominique Choudat
  • Pascal Bouscaillou
  • Elisabeth Leib
  • Jacques Laureillard
Original Article

Abstract

Exposure to flour dust may induce chronic respiratory manifestations as well as acute ventilatory effects. We compared the prevalence of respiratory symptoms, ventilatory impairment, and variations in pulmonary function over the workshift in a group of mill workers exposed to wheat flour and in referent workers. One hundred and forty-two men exposed to flour in a mill and 37 referent workers were included in this study. Each subject completed a standardized questionnaire. Pulmonary function tests were performed before and after the workshift. The assessment of environmental exposure to flour showed high concentrations during some jobs with a high percentage of inhalable particles and a low concentration of respirable particles. The exposed workers had a significantly higher prevalence of usual cough and usual phlegm than the referents. The prevalence of asthma, based on the questionnaire, was similar. Before the workshift, the exposed workers had significantly lower mean lung function values for peak flow rate and forced expiratory flow rate at 75% of the vital capacity than the referents. After the workshift, all the lung function values showed a slight decrease, significant for forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume during 1 s in both groups. Among the exposed workers, the asthmatic subjects had a significantly higher decrease across the shift than the nonasthmatic workers. This result is probably linked to bronchial hyperreactivity. Among nonasthmatic subjects, the decrease was larger in nonexposed workers than in exposed workers. A higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms and lower pulmonary function values were observed among mill workers by comparison with referents. Moreover, the data suggest that asthmatic status and the time of spirometric measurements need to be taken into account in epidemiological studies on exposure to airborne allergens. In addition, the study does not exclude a healthy worker effect with selection of dust-resistant subjects or better identification of asthmatic subjects among the workers exposed to an allergenic substance than among the nonexposed workers.

Key words

Asthma Lung function Workshift Grain mill workers 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Awad el Karim MA, Gad el Rab MO, Omer AA, El Haimi YAA (1986) Respiratory and allergic disorders in workers exposed to grain and flour dust. Arch Environ Health 41:297–301Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bachmann M, Myers JE (1991) Grain dust and respiratory health in South African milling workers. Br J Ind Med 48:656–662Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Broder I, Hutcheon MA, Mintz S, et a1. (1984) Changes in respiratory variables of grain handlers and civic workers during their initial months of employment. Br J Ind Med 41:94–99Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Broder I, Corey P, Davies G, et al. (1985) Longitudinal study of grain elevator and control workers with demonstration of healthy worker effect. J Occup Med 27:873–880PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Burge PS (1982) Single and serial measurements of lung function in the diagnosis of occupational asthma. Eur J Respir Dis 63 [Suppl 123]:47–59Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Burge PS (1987) Problems in the diagnosis of occupational asthma. Br J Dis Chest 81:105–115Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Chan-Yeung M, Schulzer M, MacLean L, Dorken E, Grzbowski S (1980) Epidemiologic health survey of grain elevator workers in British Colombia. Am Rev Respir Dis 121:329–338Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Chan-Yeung M, Enarson D, Kennedy SM (1992) The impact of grain dust on respiratory health. Am Rev Respir Dis 145:476–487Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Charpin D, Court E, Kleisbauer JP (1984) Enquête épidémiologique chez les boulangers. Arch Mal Prof 45:381–382Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    De Zotti R, Larese F, Bovenzi M, Negro C, Molinari S (1994) Allergic airway disease in Italian bakers and pastry makers. Occup Environ Med 51:548–552PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    DoPico GA, Reddan W, Anderson S, Flaherty D, Smalley E (1983) Acute effects of grain dust exposure during a work shift. Am Rev Respir Dis 128:399–404Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Dosman JA, McDuffie HH, Pahwa P (1991) Atopic status as a factor in job decision making in grain workers. J Occup Med 33:1007–1010Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Fonn S, Groeneveld HT, deBeer M, Becklake MR (1994) An environmental and respiratory health survey of workers in a grain mill in the Johannesburg area, South Africa. Am J Ind Med 24:387–400Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Fonn S, Groeneveld HT, deBeer M, Becklake MR (1994) Relationship of respiratory health status to grain dust a Witwatersrand grain mill: comparison of workers' exposure assessments with industrial hygiene survey findings. Am J Ind Med 24:401–411Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Fonn S, Becklake MR (1994) Documentation of ill-health effects of exposure to grain dust through sequential, coherent epidemiologic investigation. Scand J Work Environ Health 20:13–21Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ghaem A, Dessanges JF, Lockhart A, Martineaud JP (1986) Exploration par rhinomanomŕie des malades atteints d'allergie respiratoire. Bull Eur Physiopathol Respir 22:443–449Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hetzel MR, Clark TJH (1980) Comparison of normal and asthmatic circadian rhythms in peak expiratory flow rate. Thorax 35:732–738Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Massin N, Bohadana AB, Wild P, Kolopp-Sarda MN, Toamain JP (1995) Airway responsiveness to methacholine, respiratory symptoms, and dust exposure levels in grain and flour mill workers in eastern France. Am J Ind Med 27:859–869Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Musk AW, Venables KM, Crook B, Nunn AJ, Hawkins R, Crook GDW, Graneek BJ, Tee RD, Farrer N, Johnson DA, Gordon DJ, Darbyshire JH, Newman Taylor AJ (1989) Respiratory symptoms, lung function, and sensitisation to flour in a British bakery. Br J Ind Med 46:636–642Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Neukirch F, Liard R, Segala C, Korobaeff M, Henry C, Cooreman J (1992) Peak expiratory flow variability and bronchial responsiveness to methacholine. Am Rev Respir Dis 146:71–75Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Quackenboss JJ, Lebowitz D, Krzyzanowski M (1991) The normal range of diurnal changes in peak expiratory flow rates. Relationship to symptoms and respiratory disease. Am Rev Respir Dis 143:323–330Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Revsbech P, Andersen G (1989) Diurnal variation in peak expiratory flow rate among grain elevator workers. Br J Ind Med 46:566–569Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Rosenberg N, Rameix F, Demangeat G, Philippon JJ, Rigault MH, Schlachter T, Sandret N (1991) Prévalence de lallergie respiratoire dans la boulangerie-pîsserie parisienne en 1987. Arch Mal Prof 52:33–36Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Tessier JF, Taytard A, Fontan J, Vergeret J, Freour P (1988) Symptôs respiratoires et retentissement fonctionnel du travail en milieu de meunerie. Arch Mal Prof 49:55–57Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Walford J, Lammers B, Schilling RSF, Van Den Hoven Van Genderen D, Van Der Veen YG (1966) Diurnal variation in ventilatory capacity. An epidemiological study of cotton and other factory workers employed on shift work. Brit J Ind Med 23:142–148Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Yach D, Myers J, Bradshaw D, Benatar SR (1985) A respiratory epidemiologic survey of grain mill workers in Cape Town, South Africa. Am Rev Respir Dis 131:505–510PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Gimenez
    • 1
  • Kamal Fouad
    • 1
  • Dominique Choudat
    • 1
  • Pascal Bouscaillou
    • 1
  • Elisabeth Leib
    • 1
  • Jacques Laureillard
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Medicine Cochin - Port-Royal, Department of Occupational MedicineUniversity René DescartesParisFrance
  2. 2.CRAMIF, Laboratory of Industrial ToxicologyParisFrance

Personalised recommendations