Author(s): Cormier Y, Mrlaux A, Duchaine C
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Abstract Air contamination in sawmills can cause respiratory health problems. The authors measured respirable dust, bacteria, endotoxins, and molds collected from 17 sawmills in eastern Canada. A total of 1,205 sawmill workers answered a respiratory-health questionnaire, and they all participated in lung-function measurements, skin-prick tests, and venous blood sampling for specific immunoglobulins against molds found in the sawmills. Workers had normal lung functions, and most respiratory symptoms could be explained by smoking histories. Workers in pine sawmills had a greater prevalence of positive skin-prick test to pine than did workers in sawmills where other woods were used. High levels of specific antibodies were seen in some workers. The presence of a positive skin-prick test and/or specific antibodies had no impact on lung function(s). These Quebec sawmill workers did not experience significant respiratory illnesses; however, some of these workers may be at a higher risk of developing asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis than nonworkers.
This article was published in Arch Environ Health
and referenced in Journal of Pollution Effects & Control