Objective: We investigated whether long-term, low-level exposures to solvents had adverse longitudinal effects on pulmonary functions.
Methods: The study was performed on 1091 workers 5 years ago and then on 697 workers 5 years later. Chronic respiratory symptoms were recorded using a questionnaire on respiratory symptoms.
Results: The annual decrease in forced expiratory volume in 1 second in the workers exposed to solvents was not significantly different from that of the unexposed workers (69.7 ± 89.9 vs 75.8 ± 87.6 mL/yr, P = 0.5, respectively). In 453 workers who were exposed to solvents 5 years ago, the prevalence rate of asthma was 1.1%. Five years later, it was 3.6% in 193 workers from the same group. The difference was statistically significant (P = 0.03).
Conclusions: Longitudinally, the chronic exposure to low doses of solvents does not adversely affect the pulmonary functions, whereas it increases the asthma prevalence.
From the Departments of Public Health (Drs Saygun, Cakmak, Pinar, and Ulu) and Pulmonary Medicine (Drs Ekici, Bulcun, and Ekici), Medical Faculty, Kinkkale University, Turkey.
Address correspondence to: Professor Dr Mehmet Ekici, Atatürk Bulvarý 9. sok. Hacý Mustafa Bey Ap. No: 2/2, 07100 Kirikkale, Turkey; E-mail: email@example.com.