Airways inflammation and glucan exposure among household waste collectors

Am J Ind Med. 1998 May;33(5):463-70. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(199805)33:5<463::aid-ajim5>;2-t.


A field study was made on 17 workers collecting unsorted household waste, eight workers collecting organic/nonorganic separated waste, and 24 controls. Measurements of airborne endotoxin and (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan were made in their working environments. Examinations consisted of a questionnaire for symptoms, spirometry, airway responsiveness, and blood and sputum sampling for determination of cell counts, eosinophilic cationic protein (ECP), and myeoloperoxidase (MPO). A higher proportion of waste collectors reported diarrhea, congested nose, and unusual tiredness as compared to controls. The number of blood lymphocytes was higher among waste collectors and were dose-related to the amount of airborne (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan at the workplaces. The amount of ECP and the number of macrophages were lower in sputum among waste collectors as compared with controls. The results suggest that certain dusts from household waste may cause airway inflammation as well as general symptoms, and the effects were associated with higher (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dust
  • Glucans*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases*
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology*
  • Spirometry
  • Sputum / cytology
  • Waste Management*


  • Dust
  • Glucans