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1633e Is paper dust in soft tissue mills a problem?
  1. E Andersson
  1. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden


More dust is generated in the production of soft tissue paper than in production of other paper products. In earlier days 10 and even up to 30 mg/m3 total dust was not unusual in this industry. We updated an earlier cohort of soft tissue mill workers and included more mills 2006. Inclusion criteria was >1 years work 1960–2006, 8353 were included, 40% females. We did more dust measurements and obtained mill measurements and information on production changes. A mill-specific job exposure matrix for paper dust was developed on department level and sometimes also job-specific. That allowed us to assess every mill year for each subject with an estimated mean level of total dust (mg/m3) into one of seven exposure categories. Our main exposure metric in this presentation is worked years with exposure to >5 mg/m3 total dust. Those working from 1970 and alive 2007 got a questionnaire which 56% answered. As earlier studies on paper dust exposure and lung function have been inconclusive we made spirometry tests in one of the mills (n=198). Every year exposed to >5 mg/m3 total dust gave 0,9% loss in predicted FEV1% and 0.6% loss in predicted FVC, a significantly decrease adjusted for pack-years, gender, atopy and body mass index compared to workers never exposed one year or more to >5 mg/m3 total dust. Cohort mortality 1960–2013 has now been analysed compared to the general population in Sweden. Mortality in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was increased in workers with ≥5 years exposure to >5 mg/m3 total dust both among males and females.

  • lung function
  • mortality
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

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