Lung function and rhizopus antibodies in wood trimmers. A cross-sectional and longitudinal study

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 1986;58(3):167-77. doi: 10.1007/BF00432098.


Pulmonary function was studied in 66 wood trimmers exposed to organic dust (moulds) after a month of no exposure (summer vacation) and then three and 27 months later, and also during a working week. The results of forced expirometry and single breath nitrogen washout were compared with those obtained in local controls and in larger reference materials. The forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expired volume in one second (FEV1) were reduced by an average of 0.4 and 0.31, respectively, after one month of no exposure, however, the nitrogen washout variables showed no clear changes. Repeated measurements three months later on a Monday morning after two days of no exposure showed a further reduction in FVC and FEV1 by an average of 0.21 in a sawmill with high exposure to moulds (10 colony-forming units/m3), but not in another sawmill with ten times lower exposure. Further recordings 27 months later (Monday morning before work) displayed no further worsening in any spirometric variable. No change in lung function was noted after one day of work (Monday morning to Monday evening), but a further reduction in FVC of an average of 0.31 was seen in non-smokers at the end of the week, with apparent resolution over the weekend. The impairment was more obvious at the sawmill with higher air concentrations of organic dust than at the other sawmill. It is concluded that wood trimmers may develop restrictive pulmonary dysfunction, which might be explained by an immunopathological reaction to heavy mould exposure.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Fungal / analysis*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Flow Rates
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / immunology
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / immunology
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / physiopathology*
  • Rhizopus / immunology*
  • Sweden
  • Wood*


  • Antibodies, Fungal