Objective: In this study, we explored airway symptoms and exposure to bioaerosols and exhaust gases in seafood industry plants.
Methods: The study details the results from personal and environmental exposure measurements (17 plants), a questionnaire (n = 984), and clinical examinations (n = 225).
Results: The workers were exposed to allergens, endotoxins, molds, and exhaust. The 1-year prevalence of work-related airway symptoms was 42.8% for production workers and 25.9% for administrative workers. Mean levels of forced expiratory volume in 1 second and forced vital capacity were less than the predicted values in all exposed nonsmoker groups. A total of 20.5% had increased levels of total IgE (>/=100 kU/L). Specific IgE-mediated reactions seemed to be relevant only in the shrimp industry.
Conclusions: Seafood industry workers showed a high prevalence of work-related airway symptoms. Further research on the relationship between exposure and effects is necessary.