Lung function and precipitating antibodies in low exposed wood trimmers in Sweden

Am J Ind Med. 1992;21(4):549-59. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700210410.


Wood trimmers are exposed to molds that periodically grow on timber that may induce alveolitis and obstructive lung disease. We have evaluated respiratory symptoms, bronchial reactivity, and lung function in 28 wood trimmers at a Swedish sawmill and in 19 unexposed office workers. Eleven (sero-positive) of the wood trimmers had precipitating antibodies in peripheral blood against one or several molds. The exposure to dust (median 0.26 mg/m3), viable mold spores (median 2950 cfu/m3), viable bacteria (median 370 cfu/m3), airborne endotoxins (range 0.0015-0.0025 microgram/m3), and terpenes (range 0.4-23 mg/m3) was lower than levels that earlier have been reported to affect lung function. The wood trimmers reported an increased prevalence of cough and breathlessness. They also showed signs of a mild obstructive impairment with a tendency to increase bronchial sensitivity to metacholine and decreased FEV1 after 2 days free from exposure. FEV1 decreased more during the working week in the sero-positive workers than among the sero-negative workers, and for the whole group the decrease in FEV1 and MEF25 was correlated to the degree of mold exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies / blood*
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dust*
  • Fungi / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure* / analysis
  • Respiratory Mechanics / immunology*
  • Spirometry
  • Sweden
  • Wood*


  • Antibodies
  • Dust