There are suggestions in the literature that vinyl chloride (VC) acts as a lung irritant. Respiratory questionnaires and lung function tests were administered to 174 chemical (VC) workers, 81 polyvinyl chloride (PVC) workers, 72 former VC workers, and 136 rubber workers, and 68 maintenance workers with exposure to VC, PVC, and rubber. Except for small airways obstruction associated with rubber, increased respiratory symptoms and decreased pulmonary function were not associated with working in chemicals, plastics, or rubber. Some increases in baseline pulmonary function were associated with VC exposure. Acute reductions in pulmonary function were observed in smokers working in chemicals, plastics, and rubber. Heavier cigarette smokers over 40 years of age had the most adversely affected respiratory system.
Work was not associated with chronic respiratory effects, but all exposure groups experienced some acute respiratory insult.
©1976 The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine