Respiratory health and breath condensate acidity in sawmill workers
- 252 Downloads
The aim of the study was to evaluate exhaled breath condensate acidity (EBC pH) as a biomarker of airway response to occupational respiratory hazards present in sawmill.
Sixty-one sawmill workers in total (26 from Sawmill 1 and 35 from Sawmill 2) provided EBC samples at the beginning and at the end of the working week. Respiratory symptoms, lung function, bronchodilator test and atopy status were assessed. Occupational environment was checked for the levels of respiratory hazards.
Airborne dust concentrations were below threshold limit value. Endotoxin in Sawmill 1 and Sawmill 2, and moulds in Sawmill 1 were at the levels able to induce inflammatory response in the airways. Mould levels were 2.5 times higher in Sawmill 1 than in Sawmill 2. Compared to Sawmill 2 workers, lower spirometry values, higher prevalence of dry cough and positive bronchodilator test were found in Sawmill 1 workers. Monday EBC pH values did not differ between sawmills, but declined after one working week in Sawmill 1 workers (from 7.88 to 7.49, P = 0.012) and not in Sawmill 2 workers. Similar results were obtained when only respiratory healthy non-smokers were analysed. Monday-to-Friday change of other respiratory parameters was not observed.
The results suggest EBC pH as a biomarker of acute respiratory effects related to occupational exposure to respiratory hazards in sawmills, presumably increased mould levels. The effect was present even at subclinical level, namely in respiratory healthy subjects. The long-term health implications remain unclear and should be evaluated in a follow-up study.
KeywordsAtopy Bronchodilator test EBC pH Moulds Smoking Wood dust
The study was done within the scientific project No. 022-0222411-2410, financially supported by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of Republic of Croatia. Project was approved by authorized Ethical Committees.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Aberer W, Kranke B (2002) Measurement of IgE antibodies using liquid allergens—an inter-method and inter-laboratory quality assessment. Wien Klin Wochenschr 114:929–937Google Scholar
- Dreborg S, Frew A eds (1993) Position paper. Allergen standardisation and skin tests. Allergy 48(suppl 14):49–82Google Scholar
- International Agency for Research on Cancer (1995) Monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans. Lyon. Wood dust and formaldehyde. Stud Cancer Hum 62:1–72Google Scholar
- Jacobsen G, Schaumburg I, Sigsgaard T, Schlunssen V (2010) Non-malignant respiratory disease and occupational exposure to wood dust. Part I. Fresh wood and mixed wood industry. Ann Agr Env Med 17:15–28Google Scholar
- Quanjer PH, Tammeling GJ, Cotes JE, Pedersen OF, Peslin R, Yernault JC (1993) Lung volumes and forced ventilatory flows. Report Working Party Standardization of Lung Function Tests, European Community for Steel and Coal. Official Statement of the European Respiratory Society. Eur Respir J Suppl 16:5–40Google Scholar
- Rylander R, Peterson Y, Donham KJ (1990) Questionnaire evaluating organic dust exposure. Am J Ind Med 17:121–126Google Scholar
- Šegvić Klarić M, Varnai VM, Ljubičić Čalušić M, Macan J (2012) Occupational exposure to airborne fungi in two Croatian sawmills and atopy in exposed workers. Ann Agric Environ Med 19; 2:205–211 (in press)Google Scholar
- Varnai VM, Macan J, Plavec D, Jureša D (2004) Endotoxin level measurement in the house dust by the end-point Limulus amoebocyte lysate method. Arh Hig Rada Toksikol 55:175–181Google Scholar
- Varnai VM, Ljubičić Ćalušić A, Preskar L, Macan J (2009) Exhaled breath condensate pH in adult Croatian population without respiratory disorders-how healthy a population should be to provide a normative data? Arch Occup Med Toxicol 60:87–97Google Scholar