246203 Inflammatory Effects of Second Hand Tobacco Smoke and Welding Fume Exposures in Construction Workers

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:30 AM

Jennifer Cavallari, ScD, CIH , Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Shona Fang , Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Murray Mittleman, MD, DrPH , Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA
David Christiani, MD, MPH , Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Background: Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of mortality. While second hand smoke (SHS) exposure is a known contributor, little is known about how SHS combined with other occupational exposures affect cardiovascular health. The objective of this pilot study was to investigate the inflammatory effects of SHS and workplace exposures among construction workers. Methods: We enrolled workers from a local union to participate in a repeated-measures crossover panel study. Workers were monitored daily during three exposure scenarios: no occupational exposures (baseline), exposure to SHS (SHS) and exposure to welding fumes (welding). Blood samples were drawn post-exposure at the same time daily and analyzed for C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen. Mixed effects regression models were used to examine the differences in inflammatory markers between exposure scenarios. Results: Forty-nine mostly (98%) male, non-smokers (55%) were enrolled for 109 person-days of observation. Across all scenarios, the mean(sd) CRP was lower (p=0.11) among non-smokers 1.9(2.0) mg/L as compared to smokers 2.7(2.7) mg/L. There was no difference (p=0.43) in fibrinogen among non-smokers 277(60) mg/dL as compared to smokers 264(73) mg/dL. Compared to baseline, fibrinogen declined following welding (-23 mg/dL, p=0.05) and SHS (-19 mg/dL, p=0.15) among all participants. Compared to baseline, CRP increased among non-smokers (1.1 mg/L, p=0.08) and decreased among smokers (-1.5 mg/L, p=0.10) following SHS, yet no changes in CRP were observed following welding. Conclusion: Changes in inflammation were observed following welding and SHS exposures. Compared to smokers, non-smokers may be more susceptible to the inflammatory effects of SHS.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
To describe and compare the inflammatory effects of occupational second hand smoke and welding fume exposures.

Keywords: Occupational Health, Tobacco

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a doctorate in Environmental Health with extensive training in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. In addition, I am trained in Exposure Assessment and am a Certified Industrial Hygienist.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.