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Effect of respiratory protective devices on development of antibody and occupational asthma to an acid anhydride.


PMID 11948068

Abstract

To determine whether the use of respiratory protective equipment would reduce the incidence of occupational asthma due to exposure to hexahydrophthalic anhydride (HHPA). Prospective cohort study. A facility that makes an epoxy resin product requiring HHPA for its manufacture. Sixty-six individuals newly hired at a facility that makes an epoxy resin product requiring HHPA for its manufacture. Employees who wished to use respiratory protective equipment could choose from three types of masks: dust mask, half-face organic vapor respirator, or full-face organic vapor respirator. Workers were evaluated annually for development of positive antibody to HHPA and occupational, immunologic respiratory disease, including occupational asthma. With use of respiratory protective equipment, the rate of developing an occupational immunologic respiratory disease was reduced from approximately 10 to 2% per year. Occupational asthma developed in only three individuals, and they were all in the higher exposure category. Statistically, one respirator was not superior to the others. Respiratory protective equipment can reduce the incidence of occupational immunologic respiratory disease, including occupational asthma, in employees exposed to HHPA.

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