Lung Function in Flavorings Manufacturing Workers
- Challenge: Cardno ChemRisk® was asked by a flavorings manufacturing facility to re-analyze the spirometry and employment history data used by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) performed at the facility in 2008, to verify the HHE results, and to determine if the use of a more robust modeling technique yielded similar conclusions to those reported by NIOSH.
- Approach: Cardno ChemRisk scientists evaluated job titles and spirometry results for 112 current and former employees, and applied generalized estimating equation (GEE) models to determine whether the workplace (e.g., work area, tenure) might be associated with longitudinal changes in pulmonary function.
- Findings: The study found no statistically significant difference for changes in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) or forced vital capacity (FVC) according to tenure at the facility (after adjusting for obesity, change in weight, age, height and smoking status). Tenure in an area with high potential for exposures to flavorings chemicals was also not found to be associated with declines in lung function parameters. Overall, exposures to food flavorings, job tenure and job duties in this facility were not associated with abnormal decrements in pulmonary function when compared to internal controls. Cardno ChemRisk findings were contrary to those reported by NIOSH, most likely due to approaches in the longitudinal nature of the spirometric data.
- Value: The analysis utilized a more effective modeling technique to investigate the association between workplace exposures and pulmonary function.