Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1987;13(3):213-217    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.2061

Respiratory effects of work in retail food stores. III. Pulmonary function findings.

by Wegman DH, Eisen EA, Smith TJ, Greaves IA, Fine LJ

Findings are reported from a prospective morbidity study which examined the effects on pulmonary function associated with the particulate and gaseous air contaminants to which retail food store workers are exposed. A total of 685 supermarket employees (including meat wrappers, meat cutters and store clerks) performed standard ventilatory function tests [forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1.0) and forced vital capacity (FVC)] during a base-line survey. Those available four years later (305) were resurveyed in a similar manner. A suggestive chronic effect on pulmonary function was shown in those with high cumulative exposures and allergic history. Among those workers who had continuous exposure to air contaminants in settings with "hot-wire" plastic wrap film cutters the annual rates of change in FEV1.0 and FVC were twice as great as the changes found among comparable workers who were not exposed to fumes from wrapping film. Those who switched from the "hot-wire" to the "cool-rod" cutters during the course of the follow-up had intermediate rates of change in lung function.