A cohort study using pulmonary function tests and x-ray examination in toner-handling workers: cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses from 2003 to 2008

Hum Exp Toxicol. 2015 Apr;34(4):345-56. doi: 10.1177/0960327113520018. Epub 2014 Jul 16.


Objectives: This study uses pulmonary function tests and chest x-ray examinations to examine the relationship between toner-handling work and its health effects.

Methods: The subjects were 1504 male workers in a Japanese toner and photocopier manufacturing company, in the age range from 19 to 50 years in 2003. Personal exposure measurements, pulmonary function tests, chest x-ray examinations, biomarker measurements, and a questionnaire about respiratory symptoms were conducted. The present study reports the results of pulmonary function tests and chest x-ray examinations conducted in the subjects, which includes a cross-sectional study on the toner handling and non-handling workers and a longitudinal study from 2003 to 2008.

Results: Few significant findings were suspected to be caused by toner exposure found in pulmonary function indices in both the cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Any obvious fibrotic findings in chest x-ray findings related to the toner exposure could not be found out.

Conclusion: No evidence of adverse effects on pulmonary function indices and chest x-rays was present in the toner-handling workers as compared to the nonspecifically exposed workers. Although the toner exposure concentration is quite low in the current well-controlled working environment, even among the toner-handling workers, we would like to continue this study in the future to verify the toner exposure health effects.

Keywords: Inhalation toxicology/pulmonary toxicology; epidemiology; occupational toxicology; photocopier; printer; toner.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Manufactured Materials*
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Printing*
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Surveys and Questionnaires