Respiratory symptoms and ventilatory function in workers exposed to portland cement dust

J Occup Environ Med. 2003 Sep;45(9):1008-14. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000083036.56116.9d.


The healthy worker effect and incomplete exposure information have been problems in former studies regarding the association between exposure to Portland cement dust and respiratory effects. We included former workers and made an individual estimation of particle exposure to reduce the selection bias in this controlled cross-sectional study on the effects of cement dust exposure on respiratory symptoms and ventilatory function in long-term exposed Norwegian cement plant workers. A total of 119 workers from the largest cement plant in Norway and 50 workers from a nearby control plant, born 1918 to 1938, performed spirometry and gave information on respiratory symptoms in 1998 and 1999. The prevalence of symptoms and mean pulmonary function indices were similar for exposed workers and controls. There was no dose-response-related increase in symptoms or decrease in lung function indices. The estimated power to detect a true difference between forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) in the two groups of 0.3l was 0.90, assuming 95% significance level. The prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was 14.3% in the exposed group and 14.0% among the controls. These findings do not support the hypothesis that cement dust exposure has a negative impact on lung function or gives an increase in respiratory symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / analysis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Construction Materials / adverse effects*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dust
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Health*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Respiration Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Respiration Disorders / epidemiology
  • Respiration Disorders / etiology
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Risk Assessment
  • Spirometry
  • Time Factors


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Dust