Saf Health Work.  2014 Dec;5(4):234-237. 10.1016/

Lung Function Profiles among Individuals with Nonmalignant Asbestos-related Disorders

  • 1Department of Medical Humanities and Social Medicine, College of Medicine, Kosin University, Busan, Korea.
  • 2Department of Thoracic Medicine, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
  • 3Department of Occupational Toxicology, Institute of Industrial Ecological Sciences, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan.


Inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to adverse health effects on the lungs. This study describes lung function profiles among individuals with nonmalignant asbestos-related disorders (ARDs).
The study population was from the Workers' Compensation (Dust Diseases) Board of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Lung function measurements were conducted in males with asbestosis (n = 26), diffuse pleural thickening (DPT; n = 129), asbestosis and DPT (n = 14), pleural plaques only (n = 160) and also apparently healthy individuals with a history of asbestos exposure (n = 248). Standardized spirometric and single-breath diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO) measurements were used.
Mean age [standard deviation (SD)] was 66.7 (10.3) years for all participants. Current and ex-smokers among all participants comprised about 9.0% and 54.8%, respectively. Median pack-years (SD) of smoking for ex- and current-smokers were 22.7 (19.9). Overall 222 participants (38.6%) and 139 participants (24.2%) had forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) measurements < 80% predicted, and 217 participants (37.7%) had FEV1/FVC results < 70%. A total of 249 individuals (43.8%) had DLco values < 80% predicted and only 75 (13.2%) had DLco/VA results < 80% predicted. A total of 147 participants (25.6%) had peak expiratory flow (PEF) measurements < 80% predicted. The presence of ARDs lowered the lung function measurements compared to those of healthy individuals exposed to asbestos.
Lung function measurement differs in individuals with different ARDs. Monitoring of lung function among asbestos-exposed populations is a simple means of facilitating earlier interventions.


asbestos; asbestosis; diffuse pleural thickening; pleural plaques; lung function
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