Respiratory health of plywood workers occupationally exposed to formaldehyde

Malaka, T.; Kodama, A.M.

Archives of Environmental Health 45(5): 288-294


ISSN/ISBN: 0003-9896
PMID: 2256713
DOI: 10.1080/00039896.1990.10118748
Accession: 007750248

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This study was undertaken to enlarge our understanding of the adverse health effects of formaldehyde exposure in the workplace and community environment. The respiratory health status of 186 male plywood workers was evaluated by spirometric tests, respiratory questionnaires, and chest x-rays. Area concentrations of formaldehyde were measured in the work environment and found to range from 0.28 to 3.48 ppm. The average personal exposure was to 1.13 ppm of formaldehyde. Exposure to formaldehyde was associated with decrements in the baseline spirometric values, i.e., forced expiratory volume in 1 sec (FEV1.0), forced expiratory volume/forced vital capacity (FEV/FVC), and FEF25%-75%, and with several respiratory symptoms and diseases, including cough, phlegm, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and chest colds. The results of the study support the hypothesis that chronic exposure to formaldehyde induces symptoms and signs of chronic obstructive lung disease.