Journal Article

Silicosis and Lung Function Decrements among Female Ceramic Workers in Italy

Francesco Forastiere, David F. Goldsmith, Alessandra Sperati, Elisabetta Rapiti, Maria Miceli, Fulvio Cavariani and Carlo A. Perucci

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 156, issue 9, pages 851-856
Published in print November 2002 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online November 2002 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Silicosis and Lung Function Decrements among Female Ceramic Workers in Italy

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It is well known that male ceramic workers have elevated risks of chronic silicosis. The objective of this study was to assess whether female ceramic workers also have an increased risk of silicosis and whether these women have decreased lung function related to silica exposure. Ceramic workers from Civitacastellana, Italy, were enrolled in health surveillance during the 1970s. A total of 642 women were under surveillance; a respiratory monitoring program was conducted from 1974 to 1987, with follow-up through 1991 that included annual chest radiography and measurement of lung function. Radiography findings were defined as silicosis if the chest films were ≥1/0 with small, rounded opacities. Multiple linear regression models for repeated measures (generalized estimating equations) were run to evaluate associations of forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) with years of exposure and radiograph opacities. Nine cases of silicosis were identified on the basis of radiographic evidence. Silicosis risk was not associated with smoking but was related to employment before 1970 and demonstrated a dose-response gradient for years of exposure. FVC and FEV1 both showed significant (p < 0.05) associations with duration of exposure and with positive radiography findings. The results for female ceramic workers are consistent with those for male employees regarding exposure to fibrogenic dusts.

Keywords: ceramics; lung diseases; pulmonary fibrosis; radiography; silicosis; smoking; women; x-rays; Abbreviations: FEV1, forced expiratory volume in 1 second; FVC, forced vital capacity.

Journal Article.  3913 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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