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Am J Med Sci. 1989 Nov;298(5):314-9.

Respiratory symptoms and functional impairment from acute (cross-shift) exposure to welding gases and fumes.

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1
Environmental Sciences Laboratory, University of Southern California, School of Medicine, Los Angeles 90033.

Abstract

One hundred forty-five male welders from a West Coast shipyard were studied cross-sectionally and across a Monday work shift by pulmonary function tests and a questionnaire. Ten years of welding was associated with chronic bronchitis in 23.3% of nonsmokers compared to 3.3% in male controls, shortness of breath in 31.5% of nonsmokers compared to 1.5% in controls, and chest pain or heaviness in 38.4% compared to 4.4% in controls. Men who welded aluminum but had never smoked had more frequent wheezing, chest tightness, phlegm, feverishness and fatigue than those welding mild (black) or stainless steel. There were no significant cross-shift effects from welding exposure on measurements of pulmonary function. Although baseline expiratory flows were reduced slightly when compared to Caucasian-predicted values, ethnic specific comparisons for the largest subgroup showed only that FEF25-75 was reduced to 92.9 percentage of predicted values. Diffusing capacities for carbon monoxide were significantly reduced as compared to referents. The pulmonary function values of 25 current smokers were indistinguishable from the 41 who had never smoked, which probably reflects their low consumption of cigarettes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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