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J Occup Health year 2008 volume 50 number 2 page 212 - 220
Classification Field Study
Title Association between Use of Synthetic Metalworking Fluid and Risk of Developing Rhinitis-related Symptoms in an Automotive Ring Manufacturing Plant
Author Dong-Uk Park1, Ku-Won Jin1, Dong-Hee Koh2, Byung-Kyu Kim2, Kyu-Sang Kim2 and Doo-Yong Park2, 3
Organization 1Department of Environmental Health, Korea National Open University, 2Center for Occupational Disease Research, Occupational Safety and Health Research Institute, KOSHA and 3Mechanical System Engineering, Hansung University, Korea
Keywords Rhinitis, Synthetic metalworking fluids (MWF), Semisynthetic MWF, Metalworking fluid (MWF), Grinding operation
Correspondence D.-U. Park, Department of Environmental Health, Korea National Open University, Dongsungdong, Jongroku, Seoul 110-791, Korea (e-mail: pdw545@knou.ac.kr)
Abstract Association between Use of Synthetic Metalworking Fluid and Risk of Developing Rhinitis-related Symptoms in an Automotive Ring Manufacturing Plant: Dong-Uk Park, et al. Department of Environmental Health, Korea National Open University, Korea-The main objective of this study was to determine the association between synthetic metalworking fluid (MWF) and rhinitis-related symptoms. At a plant manufacturing piston rings for automobiles, we interviewed grinders (19) and manufacturing workers (142) in operations where synthetic or semisynthetic MWF is handled, and administrative office workers (44) regarding the principal symptoms of rhinitis (nasal stuffiness, runny nose, anosmia, nasal itchiness, rhinorrhea, headache, epistaxis, and post-nasal drip). In addition, we assessed the current exposure of workers handling MWF to MWF aerosols, fungi, and endotoxins. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the association between MWF surrogates indicative of MWF exposure and each rhinitis-related nasal symptom. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals were adjusted for sex, age, smoking habit, and duration of employment. Among grinders handling synthetic MWF, the frequency of complaints of the dominant symptoms was 66.7% for nasal stuffiness, 77.8% for anosmia, 77.8% for runny nose, and 50.0% for headache. These rates are quite high even allowing for the common occurrence of rhinitis in the general population. Twenty eight of 34 grinding and manufacturing workers (82.4%) sampled were exposed to MWF mist above the threshold limit of 0.2 mg/m3 listed as a notice of intended change by the American Conference for Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). The percentage of workers exposed to MWF mist >0.5 mg/m3 was 17.6%. Most workers were exposed to fungi levels >103 CFU/m3. All exposures to endotoxins were <50 EU/m3. Logistic regression analysis found that use of synthetic MWF was significantly associated with excess risk of nasal stuffiness (OR 3.5), nasal itchiness (OR 2.0), and runny nose (OR 2.1). The use of semi-synthetic MWF had little or no impact on the risk of developing rhinitis-related nasal symptoms. Grinding workers handling synthetic MWF had an increased risk of nasal stuffiness (OR 7.9), anosmia (OR 23.2), nasal itchiness (OR 8.3), runny nose (OR 20.4), post nasal drip (OR 18.4), and headache (OR 7.4) compared to administrative workers. Synthetic MWF may play an important role in the development of the dominant symptoms of rhinitis. Further study is needed to establish the risk of rhinitis or rhinitis-related symptoms according to MWF type.