Western red cedar dust exposure and lung function: a dose-response relationship

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1996 Oct;154(4 Pt 1):968-73. doi: 10.1164/ajrccm.154.4.8887593.


The relationship between levels of cumulative red cedar dust exposure and decline in lung function was explored in an 11-yr follow-up study of 243 sawmill workers who participated in at least two occasions. We also studied 140 office workers in a similar manner as control subjects. Workers with asthma were excluded from the analysis. During the period of the study, 916 personal and 216 area samples of dust were collected from the sawmill. Cumulative wood dust exposure was calculated for each sawmill worker according to the duration and exposure in each job, based on the geometric mean of all dust measurements for that job. Average daily dust exposure was calculated by dividing the total cumulative exposure by the number of days of work. Workers were divided into low-, medium-, and high-exposure groups with mean daily level of exposure of < 0.2, 0.2 to 0.4, and > 0.4 mg/m3, respectively. Sawmill workers had significantly greater declines in FEV1 and FVC compared with office workers adjusted for age, smoking, and initial lung function. A dose-response relationship was observed between the level of exposure and the annual decline in FVC. We conclude that exposure to Western red cedar dust is associated with a greater decline in lung function which may lead to development of chronic airflow limitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dust / adverse effects
  • Dust / analysis
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumoconiosis / diagnosis
  • Pneumoconiosis / epidemiology
  • Pneumoconiosis / etiology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Wood*


  • Dust