Screening for occupational health hazards in the rubber industry. Part 1

J. L. Weeks, J. M. Peters, R. R. Monson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Multiphasic health testing (MHT) is often offered to populations of workers usually with the objective of identifying individuals who may be ill. Results are typically not analyzed in relation to estimates of workplace exposure. We describe the results of combining MHT with industrial hygiene assessment of workplace exposures as a method of identifying possible health hazards rather than merely potentially ill individuals, MHT was offered to all production and maintenance workers employed at a tire manufacturing plant. Of 954, 744 participated. We measured worker exposure to respirable particulates, solvent vapor, and noise. We computed the frequency of positive screens among workers classified by exposure and compared these frequencies with expected values adjusted for confounding variables including age, sex, race, and smoking and drinking habits. Workers exposed to higher concentrations of respirable particulates exhibited signs of respiratory and gastrointestinal morbidity. Workers exposed to emissions from heated, uncured rubber undergoing plastic deformation reported chest tightness on return to work. We conclude that combining MHT with assessment of workplace exposure is a valid method for identifying possible occupational health hazards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-141
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Volume2
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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