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Work-Related Health Effects in Swine Building Workers After Respiratory Protection Use

Bønløkke, Jakob Hjort MD; Veillette, Marc MSc; Mériaux, Anne BSc; Duchaine, Caroline PhD; Cormier, Yvon MD

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: September 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 9 - p 1126–1132
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31825461f4
Original Articles

Objective: To compare inflammation and lung function in swine workers after periods with and without respiratory protection during work.

Methods: Twenty-three workers were examined before and after two nonprotected work shifts. One shift was preceded by a period with diminished exposure by use of respirators. The other shift was preceded by an unprotected period of work.

Results: Endotoxin concentrations were similarly high (24,636 and 28,775 endotoxin units/m3). A 3.1% cross-shift decline in forced vital capacity occurred after the period with respiratory protection (P = 0.01). Blood leukocytes increased more (P = 0.01) and bactericidal/permeability-increasing protein was reduced (P = 0.015) only after the period with respiratory protection. Plasma interleukin-6 increased (P < 0.0001) during both visits.

Conclusion: Respiratory protection resulted in cross-shift inflammatory and respiratory reactions at return to unprotected work.

From the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health (Dr Bønløkke), Institute of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark; and Unité de Recherche (Mr Veillette, Ms Mériaux, and Drs Duchaine and Cormier), centre de Pneumologie, Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec (IUCPQ), Université Laval, Quebec, Canada.

Address correspondence to: Jakob Bønløkke, MD, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Institute of Public Health, Aarhus University, Bartholins Allé 2, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark (

The study was funded by the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la nature et les technologies in collaboration with the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et sécurité du Travail. Jakob Bønløkke was a CIHR Strategic Training Fellow in PHARE, research funded by the CIHR Strategic Training Program and Partner Institutes.

All of the authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest related to this study.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine