Respiratory symptoms and pulmonary function in welders of mild steel: a cross-sectional study

Am J Ind Med. 1983;4(4):489-99. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700040403.


Pulmonary function measurements, respiratory symptoms, smoking history, and occupational history were obtained from 91 male welders of mild steel, with mean welding exposure of 108 months, and 80 male factory controls. Nonsmoking welders compared to nonsmoking controls reported higher frequencies of respiratory symptoms and the differences were statistically significant for two symptoms: phlegm, and episodes of cough and phlegm. In comparisons of smoking welders and smoking controls, no significant differences were found in the prevalence of respiratory symptoms. Nonsmoking welders and smoking welders, compared to respective controls, did not have significantly decreased mean values of forced vital capacity or forced expired volume in 1 sec. Mean mid-expiratory flow rates and forced expiratory flow rates at 75% of forced vital capacity were lower, but not significantly different, for welders, compared to controls. These decrements in peripheral flow rates could be trivial or they could represent the initial stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Long-term follow-up, provided by a large prospective study, is needed to make this distinction.

MeSH terms

  • Alloys*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology*
  • Steel*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / physiopathology
  • Welding*


  • Alloys
  • Steel