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Objectives: To see if there is any change in blood concentrations of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and fibrinogen during a working shift in tunnel construction workers.
Methods: 12 Tunnel construction workers were followed up during a 24 hours period after returning from a 9 day work free period. The first blood sample was taken on Monday afternoon before starting the shift. Another was taken around midnight after 8 hours of work, and another the next afternoon after about 12 hours of rest. Exposure to respirable dust was measured by personal samplers.
Results: The exposure of the workers to respirable dust, in terms of an 8 hour time weighted average, varied between 0.3 and 1.9 mg/m3. For IL-6, there was an increase in the median serum concentration from 1.14 ng/l before starting the shift to 4.86 ng/l after 8 hours of work (p=0.002). For fibrinogen, there was an increase in the median concentration from 3.40 g/l before entering the shift to 3.70 g/l 24 hours later (p=0.044). There was a positive correlation between values of IL-6 at the end of the working shift and the fibrinogen concentrations the next afternoon (Pearson's R=0.73, p=0.007). The observed increase in IL-6 was significant for both smokers and non-smokers.
Conclusion: The study shows an increase in both IL-6 and fibrinogen concentrations during a working shift for both smoking and non-smoking tunnel construction workers.