Sensitization to airborne molds and its health effects in peat moss processing plant workers

Authors: Mériaux, AnneCormier, YvonPageau, PascalAssayag, ÉvelyneDuchaine, Caroline
Abstract: The goal of this study was to evaluate the incidence of sensitization to the major molds found in peat dust in workers exposed to stored peat moss and the health impact of this sensitization. Air samples from each plant were obtained to measure the levels of airborne molds, bacteria, and dust. There were 189 workers from 14 peat moss processing plants (3 all-year mixing plants and 11 seasonal plants) recruited for the study. The subjects completed a symptoms questionnaire, underwent spirometric measurements and skin-prick tests, and gave venous blood samples. Blood samples from 43 nonexposed control subjects were also taken. A similar percentage of smokers from both plant types was observed. Twenty-eight percent of the workers tested had a positive serum reaction to at least one of the tested molds. The percentage of positive workers varied from plant to plant, going from none in 4 plants to 14 out of 21 for 1 plant. This variability was notcorrelated with the airborne levels of molds. FEV tended to be lower in the workers with positive antibodies compared with seronegative workers. IgG positive frequency was higher for those workers employed in the all-year plants, and workers from those plants had lower FEV/FVC than seasonal plant workers. Seasonal plants were more contaminated with molds than all-year mixing plants, suggesting that the duration of exposure may trigger more sensitization than the level of exposure. We conclude that there is a high incidence of mold sensitization in peat moss factory workers and that this sensitization may have a negative respiratory health impact.
Document Type: Article de recherche
Issue Date: 1 August 2006
Open Access Date: Restricted access
Document version: VoR
This document was published in: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygene, Vol. 3 (8), 442–447 (2006)
Taylor and Francis, Inc.
Alternative version: 10.1080/15459620600790744
Collection:Articles publiés dans des revues avec comité de lecture

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