A clinical and immunologic study of workers with trimellitic-anhydride-induced immunologic lung disease after transfer to low exposure jobs

Am Rev Respir Dis. 1993 Jul;148(1):54-7. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm/148.1.54.


The objective of the study was to determine the clinical and immunologic status of trimellitic anhydride (TMA) workers who have had immunologic lung diseases and who have been moved to lower exposure jobs. Twenty-nine consecutive workers with TMA-induced immunologic lung diseases who had been moved to low exposure jobs for more than 1 yr were studied retrospectively. Pulmonary symptoms were obtained by physician-administered questionnaire. Immunologic studies were performed using radioimmunoassay. Spirometry and chest film were obtained. Workers with late asthma (LA) (n = 3), late respiratory systemic syndrome (LRSS) (n = 8), or both LRSS and asthma rhinitis (A/R) (n = 6) had improved symptoms, improved pulmonary functions, and lower total antibody against TM-HSA. Five of the 12 workers with A/R had improved symptoms, improved pulmonary functions, and lower IgE against TM-HSA, whereas seven continued to have moderate to severe symptoms, abnormal pulmonary functions, and elevated IgE against TM-HSA. There were no chest film findings in any group that were definitely attributed to TMA. Although TMA workers with LA or LRSS improve when moved to lower exposure jobs, only half of workers with A/R improve; elevated IgE against TM-HSA appears to be a marker for the subpopulation of workers with A/R that does not improve.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / chemically induced
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immune System Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Immune System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Immune System Diseases / epidemiology
  • Immunologic Tests
  • Lung Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Lung Diseases / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Phthalic Anhydrides / adverse effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Phthalic Anhydrides
  • trimellitic anhydride