Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Exposure to bioaerosols, respiratory health and lung-specific proteins: a prospective study in garbage and wastewater workers
  1. Alois Tschopp1,
  2. Alfred Bernard2,
  3. Annette M Thommen3,
  4. Stefan Jeggli3,
  5. Xavier Dumont2,
  6. Anne Oppliger4,
  7. Philipp Hotz3
  1. 1Biostatistics Unit, ISPM, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  2. 2Louvain Centre for Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology (LTAP), Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, Belgium
  3. 3Occupational and Environmental Medicine Unit, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland
  4. 4Institute for Work and Health, Lausanne, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Philipp Hotz, Occupational and Environmental Medicine Unit, Med. Poliklinik USZ, Rämistrasse 100, 8091 Zürich, Switzerland; philipp.hotz{at}


Objectives To prospectively assess respiratory health in wastewater workers and garbage collectors over 5 years.

Methods Exposure, respiratory symptoms and conditions, spirometry and lung-specific proteins were assessed yearly in a cohort of 304 controls, 247 wastewater workers and 52 garbage collectors. Results were analysed with random coefficient models and linear regression taking into account several potential confounders.

Results Symptoms, spirometry and lung-specific proteins were not affected by occupational exposure.

Conclusions In this population no effects of occupational exposure to bioaerosols were found, probably because of good working conditions.

  • Spirometry
  • pulmonary surfactant-associated proteins
  • endotoxins
  • garbage
  • sewage
  • epidemiology
  • respiratory
  • longitudinal studies
  • lung function
  • organic dusts

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding The Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (SUVA) supported part of this study.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.