1 to study short-term changes in pulmonary function in drill floor workers exposed to airborne contaminants from drilling fluids offshore compared to a reference group of non-exposed offshore workers; and 2 to detect possible signs of pulmonary disease by HRCT scans in previously exposed workers.Methods
In a follow-up study 51 drill floor workers and 55 referents were examined with measurements of pulmonary function at the heliport before and after 14 days of work.Methods
Additionally 57 drill floor workers exposed to drilling fluids in the 1980’s were examined in a cross sectional study with HRCT of the lungs.Results
Mean declines in forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) were 50 mL and 60 mL in the drill floor workers, respectively, and in the referents 60 mL and 70 mL. Average base-line examination time was 10:47 a.m., and re-examination time 14 days later was 15:05. After adjusting for possible diurnal changes in pulmonary function, the exposed workers still experienced a statistically significant decline in FEV1 while the referents did not. Declines in FEV1 and FVC among exposed workers were correlated to fewer days of active drilling during the 14 days offshore.Results
HRCT abnormalities were detected in 54%, but coarse fibrosis with honeycombing was not observed.Conclusion
After correction for diurnal variation in pulmonary function, a statistically significant decline in FEV1 was observed among the drill floor workers. There were indications of a connexion between pulmonary function decline and exposure factors other than oil mist.