An investigation of the olfactory function of 731 workers at a chemical facility which manufactures acrylates and methacrylates was undertaken using a standardized quantitative test. In a cross-sectional analysis of the data, no associations of chemical exposure with olfactory test scores were observed. A nested case-control study designed to evaluate the cumulative effects of exposure on olfactory function, however, revealed elevated crude exposure odds ratios (95% confidence interval) of 2.0 (1.1, 3.8) for all workers and 6.0 (1.7, 21.5) for workers who never smoked cigarettes. Logistic regression analysis, adjusting for multiple confounders, revealed exposure odds ratios of 2.8 (1.1, 7.0) and 13.5 (2.1, 87.6) in these same groups, respectively, and a dose-response relationship between olfactory dysfunction and cumulative exposure scores - semi-quantitative indices of lifetime exposure to the acrylates. The data also revealed decreasing exposure odds ratios with increasing duration since last exposure to these chemicals, suggesting that the effects may be reversible.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health