Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2007;33(4):272-279    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.1143

Symptoms and immunologic markers among vulcanization workers in rubber industries in southern Sweden

by Jönsson LS, Broberg K, Axmon A, Jönsson BAG, Littorin M

Objectives The aim of this study was to estimate the risk of symptoms and the possible derangement of levels of immunologic markers for contemporary Swedish rubber workers. Furthermore, the relation between exposure and these biomarkers of response was examined using urinary levels of 2-thiothiazolidine-4-carboxylic acid (TTCA), which reflect the exposure.

Methods Included in the study were 166 exposed workers and 117 controls. Medical and occupational histories were obtained in structured interviews. Symptoms were recorded, and immunologic markers were analyzed in blood. Urinary levels of TTCA were determined by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry.

Results Compared with the controls, the exposed workers had increased risks of eye symptoms [odds ratio (OR) 3.0], nose bleeds (OR 4.0), burning and dry throat (OR 3.0), hoarseness (OR 2.4), severe dry cough (OR 3.8), nausea (OR 4.3), and headache (OR 2.5). When the exposed workers were divided into three groups according to the TTCA levels, the highest risks were observed among the exposed workers with intermediate TTCA levels. Furthermore, the exposed workers in all of the TTCA subgroups had elevated concentrations of total immunoglobulin G when compared with the controls. Elevated concentrations of leukocytes, neutrophils, and eosinophils were observed in the group with high TTCA levels.

Conclusions This work shows an increased risk of several symptoms and elevated levels of some immunologic markers among exposed workers in Swedish rubber industries. In addition, relationships between urinary levels of TTCA and some biomarkers of response were reported.

The following articles refer to this text: 2009;35(3):203-211; 2011;37(4):316-324