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Work related impairment of nasal function in Swedish woodwork teachers.
  1. M Ahman,
  2. M Holmström,
  3. I Cynkier,
  4. E Söderman
  1. Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden.


    OBJECTIVE: To study the relation between exposure and nasal function in woodwork teachers. METHODS: 39 selected woodwork teachers employed full time and 32 control subjects (other school personnel) were examined at the beginning and at the end of a working week with symptom rating, nose and throat inspection, rhinomanometry, nasal mucociliary clearance test, and a smell identification test. During one working day of the same week climate, dust and terpene concentrations were measured in all 39 schools. RESULTS: The ventilation rate was highest in rooms with mechanical ventilation. Range of total dust (personally sampled) was 0.12-1.18 mg/m3, respirable dust 0.02-0.21 mg/m3, and terpenes (area sampled) 0.02-6.8 mg/m3. In contrast to the control subjects, the woodwork teachers had more nasal symptoms on the Thursday afternoon than on the Monday morning, especially those working in rooms without mechanical ventilation. Their mucociliary clearance worsened during the week (mean increase 4 min, P < 0.001). A small impairment of olfactory function was also found, but their rhinomanometric values did not change significantly. Nasal symptoms correlated weakly with the percentage of respirable dust in the total dust. Otherwise there were no significant dose-effect relations between measured dust or terpene concentrations and nasal tests. CONCLUSIONS: The woodwork teachers had mainly reversible nasal complaints, impaired nasal mucociliary clearance and olfactory function related to the work environment, with dust concentrations below the Swedish threshold limit value of 2 mg/m3.

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