Hypersensitivity pneumonitis in a hardwood processing plant related to heavy mold exposure

J Occup Environ Hyg. 2006 Jun;3(6):301-7. doi: 10.1080/15459620600668999.


Two workers employed in a hardwood floor plant presented symptoms suggestive of hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP). At that plant, kiln-dried wood often shows moldy growth and is subsequently brought inside for processing. This study evaluated the environment in attempt to identify the causative antigen and verify whether other workers of this and similar plants had or were at risk of developing HP. Dust from dust-removing systems and molds on the surface of wood planks were collected and air samples taken from a sister plant. Blood samples, spirometry, and symptoms' questionnaires were obtained from 11 co-workers. Dense Paecilomyces growth was observed on the surface of the dried processed wood in the index plant. This fungal genus was not detected in the sister plant. An additional worker had symptoms suggestive of HP, and his bronchoalveolar lavage revealed a lymphocytic alveolitis. The 3 confirmed cases of HP and the other 10 workers had positive specific IgG antibodies to Paecilomyces. We report 3 cases of HP out of 13 workers and a 100% sensitization to molds in workers of a hardwood processing plant. This rate is much higher than what is commonly seen in other environments associated with HP. The drying process is suspected of being responsible for the massive Paecilomyces contamination likely responsible for the HP.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alveolitis, Extrinsic Allergic / microbiology*
  • Canada
  • Fungi*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Lung Diseases, Fungal / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Manufactured Materials / microbiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Paecilomyces* / immunology
  • Wood / microbiology*


  • Immunoglobulin G