Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1989;15(4):296-301    pdf


Lung function and bronchial reactivity in aluminum potroom workers.

by Larsson K, Eklund A, Arns R, Lowgren H, Nystrom J, Sundstrom G, Tornling G

Lung function and bronchial reactivity were measured in 38 aluminum potroom workers with no airway symptoms and in 20 healthy referents (office workers). All of the participants were non-smokers. The magnitude of exposure to airborne dust (alumina) and fluorides was determined. The aluminum potroom workers had obstructive lung function impairment with a significant decrease in expiratory flow and an increase in residual volume. Diffusing capacity was found to be lower than in the referents. No bronchial hyperreactivity was found in the aluminum potroom workers. The exposure to inhaled alumina and particulate and gaseous fluorides in the plant was low, 15-20% of the Swedish exposure limits. The finding of only modest lung function alterations with no bronchial hyperreactivity in the aluminum potroom workers is not consistent with the results of other authors. This discrepancy can probably be explained by the fact that the exposure to inhaled contaminants in the investigated aluminum plant was low.