A field investigation of the acute respiratory effects of metal working fluids. I. Effects of aerosol exposures

Am J Ind Med. 1997 Jun;31(6):756-66. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(199706)31:6<756::aid-ajim13>3.0.co;2-x.


A study of cross-shift change in pulmonary function was conducted among workers exposed to metal working fluids (MWF) in an automobile parts manufacturing company. Three hundred eighty-six workers (216 machinists exposed to straight or soluble MWFs, and 170 nonmachinists) were studied for 1 day, performing spirometry at the beginning and end of their shift. Airborne concentrations of inhalable particulate, culturable bacteria, and endotoxin were measured. We observed an approximately threefold increase in the incidence of 5% or greater cross-shift decrement in forced expiratory volume during the first second among those with exposures above about 0.15 mg/m3, compared to those with exposures below about 0.08 mg/m3. There was some evidence that chronic respiratory symptoms were more prevalent among machinists than among nonmachinists, notably for chronic cough. Baseline FEV1 was about 3% lower on average among those with soluble MWF exposure compared to nonmachinists. These findings are consistent with earlier studies showing respiratory effects of MWFs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aerosols*
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational*
  • Automobiles
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metallurgy*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology*
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology*


  • Aerosols
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational