OBJECTIVES: To investigate the relation between pulmonary function and occupational exposure in aluminium pot operators. METHODS: 2795 observations were obtained in 630 workers over six years of follow up. An autoregressive method of analysis was used. RESULTS: After adjustment for FEV1 in the three previous years, the effect of smoking v no smoking on FEV1 was -43.1 ml, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) -72.3 to -13.9. Similarly, an increase in the exposure to particulates by 1 mg/m3 corresponded to a decrease in FEV1 of -11.9 ml, 95% CI -19.9 to -3.9. Age was a significant predictor of both FEV1 and FVC. CONCLUSION: Exposure to particulates in aluminium potrooms seems to increase the decline in FEV15 thereby increasing the risk of development of chronic obstructive lung disease in pot operators.
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