Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1991;17(1):53-59    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.1734 | Issue date: Feb 1991

Pulmonary effects of polyvinyl chloride dust exposure on compounding workers.

by Ng TP, Lee HS, Low YM, Phoon WH, Ng YL

Spirometry, chest radiography, environmental measurements, and a questionnaire on respiratory symptoms were used to evaluate the effects of exposure to polyvinyl chloride (PVC) dust on 171 Chinese and Malay PVC compounding workers in comparison with an unexposed reference group. Workers with high cumulative PVC dust exposure had a lower forced expiratory volume in 1 s and forced vital capacity, and a higher prevalence of radiological profusion of small opacities. Wheezing or chest tightness was also significantly more frequent in this group. Unlike previous studies, the PVC compounding workers in this study were exposed to only negligible amounts, if any, of vinyl chloride monomer or thermal degradation products of PVC such as hydrogen chloride, phosgene, or chlorine. The conclusion was drawn that a low grade of pneumoconiosis and a small degree of lung function impairment is associated with PVC dust exposure. Reversible airways obstruction is also likely and warrants further investigation.