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Document ID (ISN)112306
CIS number 12-0127
ISSN - Serial title 1351-0711 - Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Year 2011
Convention or series no.
Author(s) Schlünssen V., Madsen A.M., Skov S., Sigsgaard T.
Title Does the use of biofuels affect the respiratory health among male Danish energy plant workers?
Bibliographic information July 2011, Vol.68, No.7, p.467-473. 39 ref.
Internet access Does_ the_use_of_biofuels_[BUY_THIS_ARTICLE] [in English]
Abstract Respiratory symptoms in 138 woodchip workers, 94 straw workers and 107 control workers from 85 heating- or combined heating and power plants were collected by questionnaire. Spirometry, metacholine provocation tests and skin prick tests were performed on 310 workers. The work area concentrations of total dusts, airborne endotoxins, cultivable Aspergillus fumigatus and cultivable fungi were measured at each plant. Personal exposure was calculated from the time spent on different tasks and average work area exposures. Exposure levels are discussed. Exposure levels were increased in biofuel plants compared with conventional plants. The prevalences of respiratory symptoms among conventional plant and biofuel plant workers were comparable, except for asthma symptoms among non-smokers, which were higher among straw workers compared with controls. A trend for increasing respiratory symptoms with increasing endotoxin exposure was seen with odds ratios (ORs) between 3.1 (work-related nose symptoms) and 8.1 (asthma symptoms) for the most exposed group. Associations between fungal exposure and respiratory symptoms were less clear but suggested cultivable fungi to be associated with asthma symptoms and work-related respiratory symptoms. No associations were seen between lung function and the level of endotoxin or fungal exposure. It is concluded that working with biofuel at an energy plant does not generally enhance the prevalence of respiratory symptoms. However, the exposure level to microorganisms has an impact on the occurrence of respiratory symptoms among biofuel workers.
Descriptors (primary) natural products and substances; respiratory diseases; power generation and distribution; biological hazards; risk factors
Descriptors (secondary) Aspergillus fumigatus; bacterial toxins; symptoms; asthma; allergy tests; spirometry; case-control study; dose-response relationship
Document type D - Periodical articles
Subject(s) Occupational pathology
Power generation and distribution
Broad subject area(s) Occupational medicine, epidemiology
Biological hazards
Browse category(ies) Biological hazards
Power generation and distribution
Diseases of the respiratory system (except for pneumoconiosis & similar)