Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2005 Nov 1;172(9):1139-45. Epub 2005 Jul 22.

Lung function decline, chronic bronchitis, and occupational exposures in young adults.

Author information

Respiratory and Health Research Unit, Medical Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain.



Occupational exposures to vapors, gas, dust, or fumes have been shown to be a risk factor of airway obstruction in cross-sectional studies in the general population.


Our aim was to study the relationships between specific occupations and occupational exposures during a 9-yr follow-up period and changes in lung function and symptoms of chronic bronchitis.


Subjects from the general population aged 20 to 45 yr were randomly selected in 1991-1993 within the European Community Respiratory Health Survey. Follow-up took place from 1998 to 2002 among 4,079 males and 4,461 females in 27 study centers. A total of 3,202 men and 3,279 women twice completed lung function measurements. Job history during follow-up was linked to a job exposure matrix and consequently translated into cumulative exposure estimates.


Individuals exposed to dusts, gases, and fumes during the period of follow-up did not have a steeper decline of FEV1 than did individuals with consistently white-collar occupations without occupational exposures (relative change among men and women, + 1.4 and -3.1 ml/yr, respectively; p > 0.2), nor an increase of prevalence or incidence of airway obstruction defined as an FEV1/FVC ratio of less than 0.7. The incidence of chronic phlegm increased in men exposed to mineral dust (relative risk, 1.94 [1.29-2.91]) and gases and fumes (relative risk, 1.53 [0.99-2.36]), which was not modified by smoking.


Occupational exposures to dusts, gases, and fumes occurring during the 1990s are associated with incidence of chronic bronchitis, although these did not impair lung function in a population of relatively young age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center