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      Respiratory Symptoms due to Occupational Exposure to Formaldehyde and MDF Dust in a MDF Furniture Factory in Eastern Thailand

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          The study aimed to investigate factors associated with respiratory symptoms in workers in a medium-density fiberboard (MDF) furniture factory in Eastern Thailand. Data were collected from 439 employees exposed to formaldehyde and MDF dust using questionnaire and personal sampler (Institute of Occupational Medicine; IOM). The average concentration of formaldehyde from MDF dust was 2.62 ppm (SD 367), whereas the average concentration of MDF dust itself was 7.67 mg/m 3 (SD 3.63). Atopic allergic history was a factor associated with respiratory irritation symptoms and allergic symptoms among the workers exposed to formaldehyde and were associated with respiratory irritation symptoms and allergic symptoms among those exposed to MDF dust. Exposure to MDF dust at high level (>5 mg/m 3) was associated with respiratory irritation symptoms and allergic symptoms. Excluding allergic workers from the study population produced the same kind of results in the analysis as in all workers. The symptoms were associated with the high concentrations of formaldehyde and MDF dust in this factory. If the concentration of MDF dust was >5 mg/m 3, the risk of irritation and allergic symptoms in the respiratory system increased. The respiratory health of the employees with atopic allergic history exposed to formaldehyde and MDF dust should be monitored closely.

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          Most cited references 44

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          Respiratory health and indoor air pollutants based on quantitative exposure assessments.

          We reviewed the main epidemiological studies that evaluate the respiratory effects of indoor air pollutants quantitatively in industrialised countries. Consistent results support short-term (aggravation) and, although more rarely, long-term (prevalence augmentation) effects on asthma, chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in indoor settings with poor air quality. Environmental tobacco smoke is one of the most important risks for respiratory symptoms and diseases worldwide. The evidence is also reliable for indoor nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, which have been associated with asthma, bronchitis and COPD. Whereas formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds seem to be the main pollutants in indoor settings, relevant papers on their respiratory effects are still scarce, and limited to asthma and bronchitis. Moulds have been associated with an increased risk of asthma and COPD. Contradictory results have been found between endotoxins and asthma. The role of phthalates, persistent organic pollutants and flame retardants in respiratory diseases remains to be established. Results from rural areas of industrialised countries indicate that exposure to some indoor bio-contaminants might be protective in early life, while it is associated with adverse respiratory adverse effects in adulthood. Studies focusing on indoor air pollutants should be developed to better understand their involvement in the inception and aggravation of respiratory diseases.
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            Atopic dermatitis from adolescence to adulthood in the TOACS cohort: prevalence, persistence and comorbidities.

            While much is known about childhood atopic dermatitis, little is known about persistence of atopic dermatitis into adult life. We report, to our knowledge for the first time, the clinical course of atopic dermatitis in an unselected cohort of adolescents followed into adulthood.
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              Inhaled formaldehyde: evaluation of sensory irritation in relation to carcinogenicity.

              The critical health effects of formaldehyde exposure include sensory irritation and the potential to induce tumours in the upper respiratory tract. In literature, a concentration as low as 0.24 ppm has been reported to be irritating to the respiratory tract in humans. Nasal tumour-inducing levels in experimental animals seem to be 1-2 orders of magnitude larger. In this paper, the subjectively measured sensory irritation threshold levels in humans are discussed in line with findings obtained in animal experiments. In addition, a Benchmark dose (BMD) analysis of sensory irritation was used to estimate response incidences at different formaldehyde concentrations. Data on respiratory irritation and carcinogenicity of formaldehyde were retrieved from public literature and discussed. BMD analysis was carried out on human volunteer studies using the US-EPA BMD software. Subjective measures of irritation were the major data found in humans to examine sensory (eye and nasal) irritation; only one study reported objectively measured eye irritation. On a normalized scale, mild/slight eye irritation was observed at levels 1 ppm, and mild/slight respiratory tract irritation at levels 2 ppm. With the BMD software, it was estimated that at a level of 1 ppm, only 9.5% of healthy volunteers experience 'moderate' (i.e., annoying) eye irritation (95% upper confidence limit). An important factor modulating the reported levels of irritation and health symptoms most probably includes the perception of odour intensity. In several studies, the 0-ppm control condition was missing. From the results of the long-term inhalation toxicity studies in experimental animals, a level of 1 ppm formaldehyde has been considered a NOAEL for nasal injury. Sensory irritation is first observed at levels of 1 ppm and higher. From both human and animal studies, it was concluded that at airborne levels for which the prevalence of sensory irritation is minimal both in incidence and degree (i.e., <1 ppm), risks of respiratory tract cancer are considered to be negligibly low.

                Author and article information

                Adv Prev Med
                Adv Prev Med
                Advances in Preventive Medicine
                Hindawi Publishing Corporation
                14 December 2016
                : 2016
                1Department of Industrial Hygiene and Safety, Faculty of Public Health, Burapha University, Chonburi 20131, Thailand
                2Occupational Medicine Center, Samitivej Sriracha Hospital, Chonburi 20110, Thailand
                Author notes
                *Anamai Thetkathuek: anamai@

                Academic Editor: William C. Cho

                Copyright © 2016 Anamai Thetkathuek et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Funded by: Burapha University
                Funded by: National Research Council of Thailand
                Award ID: 140/2558
                Research Article



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