Respiratory Disorders in Aluminum Smelter Workers

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Objectives:Summarizing the knowledge status, including the morphology, possible etiological factors, and clinical expression of aluminum potroom asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease related to aluminum potroom exposure.Methods:A review of the literature from the last two decades as it appears in PubMed.Results:There is substantial evidence for the existence of potroom asthma, although the incidence seems to decline over the last 10 years. Increased mortality from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and longitudinal decline in forced expiratory volume in the first second of expiration has been shown in aluminum potroom workers. Morphological manifestations in bronchial biopsies and the inflammatory markers NO and eosinophils in airway tissue and blood are consistent with asthma in general. The causative agent(s) is (are) not known.Conclusions:Reduction of exposure and cessation of smoking seem to be the major preventive measures to avoid respiratory disorders in the aluminum industry.

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