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Occup Environ Med. 2011 Nov;68(11):799-805. doi: 10.1136/oem.2010.057729. Epub 2011 Feb 5.

A cross-shift study of lung function, exhaled nitric oxide and inflammatory markers in blood in Norwegian cement production workers.

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1
Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Telemark Hospital, N-3710 Skien, Norway. anne-kristin.fell@sthf.no

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To study possible effects of aerosol exposure on lung function, fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) and inflammatory markers in blood from Norwegian cement production workers across one work shift (0 to 8 h) and again 32 h after the non-exposed baseline registration.

METHODS:

95 workers from two cement plants in Norway were included. Assessment of lung function included spirometry and gas diffusion pre- and post-shift (0 and 8 h). FeNO concentrations were measured and blood samples collected at 0, 8 and 32 h. Blood analysis included cell counts of leucocytes and mediators of inflammation.

RESULTS:

The median respirable aerosol level was 0.3 mg/m(3) (range 0.02-6.2 mg/m(3)). FEV(1), FEF(25-75%) and DL(CO) decreased by 37 ml (p=0.04), 170 ml/s (p<0.001) and 0.17 mmol/min/kPa (p=0.02), respectively, across the shift. A 2 ppm reduction in FeNO between 0 and 32 h was detected (p=0.01). The number of leucocytes increased by 0.6×10(9) cells/l (p<0.001) across the shift, while fibrinogen levels increased by 0.02 g/l (p<0.001) from 0 to 32 h. TNF-α level increased and IL-10 decreased across the shift. Baseline levels of fibrinogen were associated with the highest level of respirable dust, and increased by 0.39 g/l (95% CI 0.06 to 0.72).

CONCLUSIONS:

We observed small cross-shift changes in lung function and inflammatory markers among cement production workers, indicating that inflammatory effects may occur at exposure levels well below 1 mg/m(3). However, because the associations between these acute changes and personal exposure measurements were weak and as the long-term consequences are unknown, these findings should be tested in a follow-up study.

PMID:
21297153
PMCID:
PMC3191466
DOI:
10.1136/oem.2010.057729
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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