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1.  Respiratory symptoms and ventilatory function in confectionery workers. 
Respiratory symptoms and ventilatory capacity were studied in a group of 288 workers (259 women and 29 men) employed in a confectionery plant. A group of workers (96 women and 31 men) not exposed to confectionery manufacture were also studied as controls. The prevalence of chronic respiratory symptoms was higher in exposed than in control workers, being greatest for confectionery workers exposed to the dust of flour, talc, and starch and the vapours of alcohol. Chronic bronchitis was reported by 7% of the women and 21% of the men, and chest tightness was reported by 27% of women and 66% of men. There was a high prevalence of acute irritative symptoms during the workshift in all groups of confectionery workers, especially for cough, dyspnoea, burning and dryness of the throat, and eye irritation. For all groups of confectionery workers there were statistically significant across shift reductions in ventilatory capacity, being most pronounced for maximum flow rate at 50% of the control vital capacity (FEF50; range 4.6-13.0%) and at 25% of the control vital capacity (FEF25; range 4.7-22.3%). Preshift values of FEF50 and FEF25 were significantly lower than predicted values. The data suggest that some workers employed in confectionery plants may develop acute and chronic respiratory symptoms associated with changes in lung function.
PMCID: PMC1128010  PMID: 8044240
2.  Respiratory symptoms and ventilatory capacity in swine confinement workers. 
A group of 59 workers (41 men and 18 women) employed in swine confinement areas was studied to assess the presence of acute and chronic respiratory symptoms and the prevalence of abnormalities in ventilatory function. A control group of 46 (31 men and 15 women) unexposed workers was studied for the prevalence of chronic respiratory symptoms. For both male and female swine confinement workers complaints of chronic cough, dyspnoea, and chest tightness were significantly more frequent than among control workers. Male workers also complained more of chronic phlegm. Male swine confinement workers who were smokers had significantly higher prevalences of chronic cough, chronic phlegm, and chronic bronchitis than male non-smoking swine confinement workers. The frequency of acute symptoms associated with the workshift was high among the swine confinement workers with more than half of the workers complaining of cough and dyspnoea associated with work. Significant acute across shift reductions in lung function occurred in swine confinement workers, being largest for FEF25. All Monday preshift ventilatory capacity measurements in male confinement workers were significantly lower than predicted values; FVC and FEV1 were found to be lower than predicted values for women. The data indicate that exposure in swine confinement buildings is associated with the development of acute and chronic respiratory symptoms and impairment of lung function. Smoking appears to aggravate these changes.
PMCID: PMC1012126  PMID: 1606030
3.  Respiratory symptoms and lung function in hemp workers. 
Respiratory symptoms and abnormalities of lung function were studied in 84 female and 27 male hemp workers employed in two textile mills (A and B) processing soft hemp (C sativa). In mill A 46 women and 27 men were investigated and 38 female workers were studied in mill B. Forty nine women and 30 men from a non-dusty industry served as controls. A significantly higher prevalence of almost all chronic respiratory symptoms was found in female hemp workers when compared to control workers. Among the men these differences were significant for nasal catarrh and sinusitis. A high prevalence of byssinosis was found among female hemp workers in both mills (group A, 47.8%; group B, 57.9%) as well as in the male workers (66.7%). Statistically significant across shift reductions in lung function were found for all ventilatory capacity measurements in female and male hemp workers varying from 7.1% for forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) to 15.1% for flow rates at 50% vital capacity (FEF50). Measured Monday baseline values before the work shift were significantly lower than expected for hemp workers, being particularly reduced for FEF25 and FEF50. The data suggest that occupational exposure to hemp dust is a significant risk factor for the development of acute and chronic lung disease in workers employed in this textile industry.
PMCID: PMC1035249  PMID: 2207034
4.  Bronchial reactivity in green coffee exposure. 
Respiratory symptoms and lung function were studied in nine coffee workers who complained of job related respiratory symptoms. Six described symptoms characteristic of occupational asthma. Lung function data showed obstructive changes mostly in the smaller airways with no impairment in diffusing capacity. Bronchoprovocation testing with green coffee allergen provoked immediate asthmatic reactions with acute reductions of ventilatory capacity in four workers. The relative fall in FEF25-75% (ranging from 28% to 66%) was greater than in FEV1 (ranging from 18% to 62% of the control values). Eight of the nine workers had an increased total IgE serum level; five had positive intradermal skin tests to green coffee allergen. Most of the six healthy subjects experimentally exposed to green coffee dust in the working environment showed an acute fall in flow rates on maximum expiratory flow-volume curves. These results indicate that bronchoprovocation with green coffee allergen or green coffee dust may be used to identify subjects sensitive to green coffee.
PMCID: PMC1007501  PMID: 4005196
5.  Respiratory function in tea workers. 
Respiratory function was studied in five groups of tea workers employed in processing different types of tea. The prevalence of almost all chronic respiratory symptoms was significantly higher in workers processing dog-rose, sage, and gruzyan tea than in control workers. During the Monday workshift there was a significant mean acute decrease in maximum expiratory flow rates at 50% vital capacity (range: 4.1-8.8%) and at 25% VC (range: 7.8-21.8%) except in those exposed to camomile. Acute reductions in forced expiratory volume in one second were considerably smaller and mostly not significant. Mean acute reductions on Wednesday were similar to those on Monday with no significant differences between preshift Monday and Wednesday data. Acute decreases in flow rates at low lung volumes suggest that the bronchoconstrictor effect of the dust acts mostly on smaller airways. Preshift administration of disodium cromoglycate significantly diminished acute reduction in flow rates except in workers processing Indian tea. A comparison of Monday preshift values of ventilatory capacity in tea workers with those in controls indicates that exposure to tea dust may, in some workers, lead to chronic respiratory impairment.
PMCID: PMC1009241  PMID: 6691940
6.  Characterisation of textile dust extracts: II. Bronchoconstriction in man. 
Aqueous extracts of cotton bracts induce a concentration dependent decrease in flow rates on partial expiratory flow volume curves. It has been shown that the active substance(s) is stable to moderate heat and to acid or alkaline conditions. Results of dialysis and gel filtration suggest that the active component(s) has a molecular size of about 1000 daltons. The component(s) is not absorbed on to ion exchange resins but is readily removed from aqueous extract by activated charcoal. The bronchoconstrictor agent cannot be steam distilled or extracted by ether. It is readily soluble in water; a single extraction of bracts removes all biologically active material. It is proposed that healthy subjects, responsive to cotton bracts extract, can be used qualitatively to fractionate and quantitatively to assay the active substance(s) in this material.
PMCID: PMC1009238  PMID: 6691938
7.  Pharmacological characterisation of extracts of coffee dusts. 
The contractile or relaxant activities or both of aqueous extracts of green and roasted coffees were assayed on isolated guinea pig tracheal spirals. Contractile and relaxant activities were compared with histamine and theophylline, respectively. Green coffee extracts induced concentration dependent contraction, but the maximal tension never exceeded 76.3% +/- 5.2 of a maximal histamine contraction (0.69 +/- 0.07 g/mm2 v 0.52 +/- 0.05 g/mm2; p (0.01). One gram of green coffee dust had a biological activity equivalent to 1.23 +/- 0.1 mg of histamine. The pD2 value of histamine was -5.17 +/- 0.05. The potency of green coffee was unaffected by mepyramine maleate (1 micrograms/ml, final bath concentration) while that of histamine was reduced 500 fold. Tissues contracted with histamine were not significantly relaxed by green coffee extracts. By contrast, roasted coffee extracts induced concentration dependent relaxation of uncontracted and histamine contracted tissues. Tissues contracted with green coffee extracts were also completely relaxed by roasted coffee extracts. The pD2 value of theophylline was -4.10 +/- 0.03. The relaxant activity of 1 g of roasted coffee was equivalent to 1.95 +/- 0.16 mg of theophylline. The potency of these extracts was significantly reduced after propranolol (1 micrograms/ml; dose ratio 1.56). Our results show that coffee dust extracts have considerable biological activity which changes from a contractile to a relaxant action as a consequence of processing. The greater incidence of adverse reactions to green coffee dust(s) in coffee workers may be related to the contractile activity present in green coffee dust.
PMCID: PMC1009171  PMID: 6830717
8.  Immunological and respiratory changes in coffee workers. 
Thorax  1981;36(1):9-13.
Immunological status and respiratory function were studied in a group of 45 coffee workers. Skin tests with coffee allergens demonstrated the highest percentage of positive reactions to dust collected during emptying bags (40.0%), followed by dust of green (12%) and then roasted coffee (8.9%). Among 34 skin-tested control workers, 14.7% had positive skin reaction to dust collected during emptying bags, but none had positive skin reaction to green or roasted coffee. Serum levels of total IgE were increased in 24.4% of coffee workers and in 5.9% of control subjects. The prevalence of all chronic respiratory symptoms was significantly higher in coffee workers than in control subjects. Coffee workers with positive skin tests to coffee allergen had a significantly higher prevalence of chronic cough (63.6%) and chronic phlegm (72.7%) than those with negative skin tests (32.4% and 23.5% respectively). There was a significant mean decrease over the Monday work shift in the maximum expiratory flow rate at 50% of vital capacity (MEF50: -7.9%) and at 25% vital capacity (MEF25: -17.8%), suggesting an obstructive effect mostly in smaller airways. Coffee workers with positive skin tests to coffee allergens had larger acute reductions in flow rates than those with negative skin tests but the difference was not statistically significant.
PMCID: PMC471433  PMID: 7292386
9.  Bronchoconstriction in potroom workers. 
The effect on airway responsiveness of an oral dose of a beta-adrenergic blocker (80 mg propranolol) given before work, was studied in 15 potroom workers who complained of dyspnoea, chest tightness and wheezing after they had started to work in potrooms. The same study was performed in a group of 10 potroom workers, selected at random, who had not complained of such symptoms. In addition, another group of 12 potroom workers with respiratory symptoms were given 1 mg atropine subcutaneously. Ventilatory function was assessed from forced expiratory curves (by means of a waterless spirometer) and from maximum expiratory flow-volume curves (by means of a digital pneumotachograph). Bronchoconstriction during the first few hours' work was significantly potentiated by propranolol in the group of potroom workers with respiratory complaints. Propranolol did not produce this effect in workers who had not complained of respiratory symptoms. Atropine sulphate abolished the fall in ventilatory volumes which occurred during the first few hours of work. These findings suggest that acute bronchoconstriction, particularly in small airways, and respiratory symptoms occurring in certain potroom workers may be based on an alteration in autonomic balance with vagal preponderance.
PMCID: PMC1008566  PMID: 500779
10.  Respiratory function in coffee workers. 
Respiratory function was studied in three groups of workers employed in processing coffee. The prevalence of almost all chronic respiratory symptoms was significantly higher in coffee processors than in control workers. In each group during the Monday work shift there was a significant mean acute decrease in the maximum expiratory flow rate at 50% vital capacity (VC), ranging from 4.0% to 8.7%, and at 25% VC, ranging from 6.0% to 18.5%. Acute reductions in FEV1.0 were considerably lower, ranging from 1.3% to 2.8%. On Thursdays the acute ventilatory function changes were somewhat lower than on Mondays. Acute decreases in flow rates at low lung volumes suggest that the bronchoconstrictor effect of the dust acts mostly on smaller airways. Administration of Intal (disodium cromoglycate) before the shift considerably diminished acute reductions in flow rates. A comparison of Monday pre-shift values of ventilatory capacity in coffee workers with those in controls indicates that exposure to dust in green or roasted coffee processing may lead to persistent loss of pulmonary function.
PMCID: PMC1008526  PMID: 111700
11.  Lung function in textile workers. 
Acute changes in ventilatory function during a workshift with exposure to hemp, flax, and cotton dust were measured on Mondays in a group of 61 textile workers, all working on carding machines. In addition, single-breath diffusing capacity (DLCOSB) was measured before dust exposure on Monday in 30 of the 61 workers. Large acute reductions during dust exposure were recorded in maximum expiratory flow rate at 50% VC (MEF50%), ranging from 38 to 22%. Acute reductions of FEV1-0 were considerably smaller, ranging from 17 to 9%. There was a statistically significant increase in residual volume (RV) with very small and insignificant changes in total lung capacity (TLC). Although preshift FEV1-0 and FVC were decreased, DLCOSB was within normal limits. Plethysmographic measurements in six healthy volunteers exposed to hemp-dust extract confirmed the results obtained in textile workers, that is, that TLC does not change significantly during dust-induced airway constriction and that maximum expiratory flow rate at 50% VC (MEF50%) is a more sensitive test than FEV1-0 in detecting acute ventilatory changes caused by the dust extract.
PMCID: PMC1008077  PMID: 1103956

Results 1-11 (11)