Occupational endotoxin-exposure and possible health effects on humans (review)

Authors

  • Verena Liebers PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Research Institute for Occupational Medicine of the Berufsgenossenschaften (BGFA), Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
    • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Forschungsinstitut für Arbeitsmedizin (BGFA), Institut der Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Allergologie/Immunologie, Bürkle-de-la-Camp-Platz 1, D-44793 Bochum, Germany.
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  • Thomas Brüning MD,

    1. Research Institute for Occupational Medicine of the Berufsgenossenschaften (BGFA), Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
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  • Monika Raulf-Heimsoth PhD

    1. Research Institute for Occupational Medicine of the Berufsgenossenschaften (BGFA), Institute of the Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany
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Abstract

Background

Endotoxins are commonly found at workplaces where large amounts of bioaerosols are generated. In Germany, especially since the Ordinance on Safety and Health Protection related to work involving biological agents (Biostoff-Verordnung) became effective (1999), threshold limit values are widely discussed. Up to the present, endotoxin values are measured with non-uniform methods and therefore values are of limited benefit for classification of exposure groups. In Germany there is no threshold limit value for endotoxin.

Methods

Relevant literature of the last 20 years was selected from Medline and discussed.

Results

In this review we focused on the impact of endotoxin exposure on human health with special respect to the measurements on workplace and methodological aspects of endotoxin determination. Methods for sampling and endotoxin determination have to be validated, optimized, and standardized first.

Conclusion

The adverse health effects of endotoxins are known, standardization of measurements is a necessary goal and protection measures should be established immediately. Am. J. Ind. Med. 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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