Evaluation of chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and ventilatory function among workers exposed to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1991 Dec;144(6):1302-6. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/144.6.1302.


2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) is produced as an undesirable contaminant in the manufacture of 2,4,5-trichlorophenol (TCP) and its derivatives. There is considerable concern about the health effects that may be associated with exposure to TCDD-contaminated substances. A cross-sectional medical study that included a comprehensive medical history, medical examination, and measurement of pulmonary function was conducted on workers employed more than 15 yr earlier in the manufacture of NaTCP and its derivatives at two chemical plants. The workers had substantial exposure to substances contaminated with TCDD, as evidenced by a mean serum TCDD level, lipid adjusted, of 200 ppt compared with a mean of 7 ppt in the unexposed reference group. The comparison group consisted of individuals with no occupational exposure to phenoxy herbicides who lived in the same communities as the workers. A total of 281 workers and 260 unexposed referents participated in the medical examination. Logistic and linear regression analyses, which contained categorical and continuous measures of TCDD exposure, were performed to control for important confounders, including cigarette and alcohol consumption. No difference was found between workers and referents in the risk for chronic bronchitis or COPD. Analysis of the ventilatory function data revealed no association between history of exposure to substances contaminated with TCDD and the forced expiratory volume at one second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), or the ratio of FEV1 to FVC (FEV1/FVC%).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bronchitis / epidemiology*
  • Chemical Industry*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Missouri / epidemiology
  • New Jersey / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / adverse effects*
  • Spirometry


  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins