Organic dust exposure and work-related effects among recycling workers
Article first published online: 21 MAY 2003
Copyright © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Volume 43, Issue 6, pages 584–591, June 2003
How to Cite
Gladding, T., Thorn, J. and Stott, D. (2003), Organic dust exposure and work-related effects among recycling workers. Am. J. Ind. Med., 43: 584–591. doi: 10.1002/ajim.10220
- Issue published online: 21 MAY 2003
- Article first published online: 21 MAY 2003
- Manuscript Accepted: 11 DEC 2002
- European Commission and the Environment Agency, Bristol, UK. Grant Number: BMH4-CT96-0105
- European Commission and the Environment Agency, Bristol, UK (R&D Project). Grant Number: P1-214
- household waste recycling;
- work-related symptoms;
- organic dust
Organic dust exposure and work-related symptoms and effects among household waste recycling workers in Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) are a concern. MRFs are a central operation where source-segregated, dry, recyclable materials (paper, plastics, cans, etc.) are sorted, mechanically or manually, to market specifications for processing into secondary materials.
One hundred and fifty-nine MRF workers (91%) from nine MRFs participated. Measurements of airborne total dust, endotoxin, (13)-β-D-glucan, and a questionnaire survey were carried out. Blood data was restricted to MRFs 3, 6, and 9 (45 workers). Blood sampling investigated differential cell counts, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and immunoglobulin (Ig)E.
Workers exposed to higher amounts of endotoxin and (13)-β-D-glucan had an increased risk for respiratory symptoms as compared to those with lower exposure. Stomach problems was associated to higher (13)-β-D-glucan exposure. MRF 3 had a higher (13)-β-d-glucan exposure compared to 6 and 9, and respiratory symptoms, unusual tiredness, and vomiting were reported more often in MRF 3. Monocyte numbers and ESR were significantly decreased in MRF 3 compared to MRF 6 and 9, but all measured values were within normal ranges.
The results suggest that MRF workers exposed to higher levels of endotoxin and (13)-β-D-glucan at their work sites exhibit various work-related symptoms, and that the longer a worker is in the MRF environment, the more likely he is to become affected by various respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms. Am. J. Ind. Med. 43:584–591, 2003. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.