Researchers conducted this study to examine respiratorily and skin diseases among workers exposed to metalworking fluids (MWFs) used during machining processes.
Researchers identified five cases of a severe and previously unrecognized lung disease characterized by BADE among workers at a machining facility that used MWFs. However, MWF exposure could not be confirmed as the etiology. In the UK, MWF is now the predominant cause of occupational HP. Under continuous conditions associated with respiratory disease outbreaks, over a working lifetime of 45 years, workers exposed to MWF at 0.1 mg/m3 are estimated to have a 45.3% risk of acquiring HP or occupational asthma under outbreak conditions and a 3.0% risk assuming outbreak conditions exist in 5% of MWF environments. Skin diseases persist as frequent causes of occupational illness following MWF exposure.
The study concluded that Healthcare practitioners must consider MWF exposure as a potential cause for work-related respiratory and skin diseases. Additional work is necessary to characterize any possible association between MWF exposures and BADE more definitively. Companies should implement medical surveillance for workers regularly exposed to MWF.