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Am J Ind Med. 1997 Oct;32(4):423-32.

Metalworking fluid-associated hypersensitivity pneumonitis: a workshop summary.

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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA.


A workshop discussing eight clusters of hypersensitivity pneumonitis in the automotive industry among metalworking fluid-exposed workers concluded that a risk exists for this granulomatous lung disease where water-based fluids are used and unusual microbial contaminants predominate. Strong candidates for microbial etiology are nontuberculous mycobacteria and fungi. Cases of hypersensitivity pneumonitis occur among cases with other work-related respiratory symptoms and chest diseases. Reversibility of disease has occurred in many cases with exposure cessation, allowing return to work to jobs without metalworking fluid exposures or, in some situations, to jobs without the same metalworking fluid exposures. Cases have been recognized with metalworking fluid exposures generally less than 0.5 mg/m3. The workshop participants identified knowledge gaps regarding risk factors, exposure-response relationships, intervention efficacy, and natural history, as well as surveillance needs to define the extent of the problem in this industry. In the absence of answers to these questions, guidance for prevention is necessarily limited.

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