Pulmonary Abnormalities in Art Glassblowers

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Art glassblowing is a profession bringing the lung in close contact with many potential hazards. Forty-seven art glassblowers with a mean age of 34.5 years answered a questionnaire and had pulmonary function studies performed. While this was generally a young, healthy population, 21% had “usual cough” and 31% had wheezing. Pulmonary functions were most often normal. However, using multiple linear regression analysis, the functions associated with volume, VC and FEV1 showed a significant drop with increase in the total lifetime hours exposed to glassblowing. Both the presence of a cough and the production of phlegm were related to hours of exposure. Thus it seems there may be some unknown toxic effect of art glassblowing which in the future may prove to be hazardous to health.

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