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Improved nasal clearance among pulp-mill workers after the reduction of lime dust
Kjell Torén, Jonas Brisman, Stig Hagberg and Göran Karlsson
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health
Vol. 22, No. 2 (April 1996), pp. 102-107
Published by: the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, the Danish National Research Centre for the Working Environment, and the Norwegian National Institute of Occupational Health
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40966516
Page Count: 6
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Objectives The purpose of this study was to investigate nasal symptoms and function among workers exposed to lime dust and to determine if a reconstruction of the workplace improved the worker's nasal health. Methods In 1992, pulp-mill workers (N = 15) exposed to lime dust and an equal number of matched unexposed referents were examined by questionnaires, nasal peak expiratory flow, the saccharin test, nasal lavage, and a clinical examination of the upper airways. The study was repeated one year later, after the pulp mill had been rebuilt. Dust levels were measured on both occasions with stationary and personal samplings. Results In 1992 the total dust level was 1.2 mg · m⁻³. The saccharin test showed a significantly increased nasal transit time for the exposed workers in comparison with that of the unexposed referents (difference 3.5 min, 95% confidence interval 0.1 — 6.9 min). One year later the dust levels had decreased to 0.1 mg · m⁻³, and the difference in nasal transit time had decreased (difference -0.8 min, 95% confidence interval -4.8— 3.3 min). Conclusions Workers exposed to lime dust have an impaired mucociliary function. This impairment is probably due to the alkalinity of the lime. When dust levels are reduced, mucociliary function improves; therefore renovating a workplace to reduce dust levels has a positive effect.
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health © 1996 Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health