Background: To study respiratory symptoms in pine sawmill workers.
Methods: A respiratory health questionnaire was administered to 772 pine sawmill workers and the association between symptoms and job-title-based exposure was studied.
Results: Asthma in exposed workers (18%, n = 704) was more common than in the general population (12.1%, n = 592; adjusted OR (95% CI): 1.6 (1.1-2.3)). Asthma was also more common in the low exposure group (15.6%, n = 294) and high exposure groups (high exposure to 'green dust'; 20.4%, n = 212 and high exposure to 'dry dust'; 18.8%, n = 198) than in the non-exposed workers (9.2%, n = 65). Adjusted odds ratios were 1.9 (0.7-4.9), 2.7 (0.9-7.6), and 2.1 (0.8-5.7), respectively. Adjusted odds ratios for symptoms of cough were 2.7 (1.2-6.5) for the low, 5.2 (2.1-13.0) for the high 'green dust' and 3.3 (1.4-7.9) for the high 'dry dust' exposure groups. Moreover, eye and nose irritations were significantly more prevalent in the high and low exposure groups.
Conclusions: Working in pine sawmilling is associated with an increased prevalence of asthma and cough symptoms and eye and nose irritation.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.