OBJECTIVES--To examine if car painters who work with polyurethane paints that contain hexamethylenediisocyanate (HDI) and hexamethylenediisocyanate biuret trimer (HDI-BT) develop acute as well as chronic impairment of lung function. METHODS--In this study data were reanalysed from two earlier studies on a group of car painters to see if a decrease in lung function within the week is a marker of vulnerability in those workers. Data on changes in forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) within the week were available for 20 car painters who were also examined six years later. RESULTS--10 men showed a decline in FVC within the week. There were no significant differences in age, duration of employment, exposures during the follow up period, or smoking between car painters who had decline in lung function within the week and car painters who had not. A significant correlation was found between the change in FVC within the week and the long term (six year) change in FVC, standardised for the effects of aging and smoking, and adjusted for the number of peak exposures. CONCLUSIONS--The results suggest that the decrease in FVC within the week might serve as a guide to identify car painters at risk of a further decrement in lung function above the effects of aging, smoking, and exposure.
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