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J Occup Health year 2003 volume 45 number 4 page 238 - 241
Classification Field Study
Title Environmental Mycological Study and Respiratory Disease Investigation in Fur-processing Workers
Author Jie CHEN, Zhenlin LIU, Jin SHI, Shusen WANG, Sufen YANG, Jiezhi LOU and Zhaofa XU
Organization Division of Pneumoconiosis, School of Public Health, China Medical University, China
Keywords Fur processing environment, Respiratory diseases, Fungi
Correspondence J. Chen, Division of Pneumoconiosis, School of Public Health, China Medical University, 92 North 2nd, Shenyang, 110001, P. R. China
Abstract Environmental Mycological Study and Respiratory Disease Investigation in Fur-processing Workers: Jie CHEN, et al. Division of Pneumoconiosis, School of Public Health, China Medical University, China-This paper presents the results of an investigation of respiratory symptoms, chest X-ray examinations, and analysis of antibodies to fungi of 138 fur-processing workers and 40 control workers. Industrial hygiene survey and environmental mycological studies were also conducted. The dust concentrations in fur processing workshops (1.8-6.7 mg/m3) were below the national health limit (10 mg/m3). Most dusts in all fur processing workshops contained less than 2.0% silica. Numbers of isolated fungi in fur processing workshops [629-3,681 cfu/m3 (colony forming unit/m3)] were significantly higher than those in control environments (63-503 cfu/m3). The prevalences of respiratory symptoms in fur processing workers were higher than those in control workers, especially among female exposed workers. The prevalences of the symptoms in female exposed workers were 37.9% with chronic cough, 28.4% with chronic phlegm, 10.5% with dyspnea, 22.1% with chest tightness, and 4.2% with fever. Seven cases showed abnormalities in chest X-ray examinations. The OD450 nm values for antibodies to fungi in fur processing workers were significantly higher than those in control workers (P<0.05). The prevalences of positive anti-fungi antibodies in fur-processing workers were also significantly higher than those in control workers (p<0.01). The results suggested that fungi might be one of the main allergens in respiratory diseases in fur processing workers.