Endotoxin exposure-response in a fiberglass manufacturing facility

Am J Ind Med. 1996 Jan;29(1):3-13. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0274(199601)29:1<3::AID-AJIM2>3.0.CO;2-V.


Peak expiratory flow (PEF) and workplace exposure to endotoxin, phenolic resin, and formaldehyde were measured to investigate asthma symptoms and medication use among employees in a fiberglass wool manufacturing plant. Self-recorded PEF was obtained from 37 workers, for a total of 181 days off work and 187 days at work with concurrent personal exposure monitoring. Pre- and post-shift spirometry were obtained on at least 2 days. The 8 hr time-weighted average personal exposure ranges were endotoxin; 0.4-759 ng/m3; phenolic resin, 5.7-327 micrograms/m3; and formaldehyde, 1.2-265 micrograms/m3. Amplitude percent mean peak flow was associated with years since starting regular work in the highest endotoxin exposure area, although current assignment in that area was associated with reduced amplitude--evidence for a healthy worker effect. Exposure-response was analyzed by regression of lung function change on exposure using generalized estimating equations with robust variance estimates. Endotoxin exposure above 4 ng/m3 (8 hr time-weighted average) was associated with a decline in lung function across the work shift, and with drops in lung function 16-20 hr after exposure. Phenolic resin exposure was not consistently associated with decrements, and formaldehyde was not associated with decrements in lung function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / chemically induced*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Endotoxins / adverse effects*
  • Glass*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria*
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate / physiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors


  • Endotoxins
  • fiberglass