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

  • M. Lehnert
  • F. Hoffmeyer
  • K. Gawrych
  • A. Lotz
  • E. Heinze
  • H. Berresheim
  • R. Merget
  • V. Harth
  • R. Van Gelder
  • J.-U. Hahn
  • A. Hartwig
  • T. Weiß
  • B. Pesch
  • T. Brüning
  • for the WELDOX Study Group
Chapter

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 

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Lehnert
    • 1
  • F. Hoffmeyer
    • 1
  • K. Gawrych
    • 1
  • A. Lotz
    • 1
  • E. Heinze
    • 1
  • H. Berresheim
    • 1
  • R. Merget
    • 1
  • V. Harth
    • 2
  • R. Van Gelder
    • 3
  • J.-U. Hahn
    • 3
  • A. Hartwig
    • 4
  • T. Weiß
    • 1
  • B. Pesch
    • 1
  • T. Brüning
    • 1
  • for the WELDOX Study Group
  1. 1.Institute of Prevention and Occupational Medicine, German Social Accident Insurance (IPA)Institute of the Ruhr-University BochumBochumGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Occupational and Maritime MedicineHamburgGermany
  3. 3.Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (IFA)Sankt AugustinGermany
  4. 4.Institute for Applied BioscienceKarlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)KarlsruheGermany

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