Lung function decrease in relation to pneumoconiosis and exposure to quartz-containing dust in construction workers

Am J Ind Med. 2003 Jun;43(6):574-83. doi: 10.1002/ajim.10229.


Background: Prevalence of exposure related respiratory symptoms and decreases in lung function are unknown among quartz dust exposed construction workers.

Methods: In a cross-sectional study (n = 1335), the occurrence of respiratory symptoms, was recorded and spirometric lung function was measured. Results were associated with exposure data and presence of radiographic abnormalities and compared with a reference population.

Results: Pneumoconiosis (profusion category 1/1 or greater) was associated with increased risks of FEV(1) and FVC values in the lowest 5% group, and with group-based decreases of 270 ml/s and 180 ml, respectively. Average lung function of construction workers was somewhat lower compared to a Dutch reference population. Lung function was not associated with exposure, except for a reduction in FVC of 5 ml per year for those with higher exposure.

Conclusions: In quartz dust exposed construction workers obstructive and restrictive lung function loss was detected.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Construction Materials
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dust*
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Flow Rates / physiology
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Pneumoconiosis / etiology
  • Pneumoconiosis / physiopathology*
  • Quartz / poisoning*
  • Radiography
  • Reference Values
  • Regression Analysis
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vital Capacity / physiology


  • Dust
  • Quartz