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Cellular, biochemical and functional profile from airways of cleaning workers after airborne exposure in the workplace

Grant number: 09/16180-2
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: April 01, 2010 - March 31, 2012
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Collective Health - Public Health
Principal researcher:Fabio Fernandes Morato Castro
Grantee:Fabio Fernandes Morato Castro
Home Institution: Faculdade de Medicina (FM). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Cleaning workers are at risk of airway diseases such as asthma and rhinitis according to epidemiological studies. Chlorine-based bleaches are often associated with work-related asthma or with airway symptoms. This study aim to evaluate the effect of the chronic exposure to airborne contaminants during the professional cleaning activities on the airways. Data from cleaners (n~100) working in building offices will be assessed, comparing two moments: during the work and after 20-30 days of vacation, using symptoms and occupational questionnaires, prick-test, nonspecific inhalation challenge test, sputum (induced) differential cell counts, measurements of nitric oxide in exhaled air, spirometry and reversibility tests, and serial monitoring of peak expiratory flow. The environmental assessment will be conducted by means of measurements of concentrations of chlorine (portable analyzer for direct reading) and trichloramine (by ion chromatography) in air while cleaning the toilets at worksite. It is important to produce evidence that the risk is related to work and not the social conditions or other competitive factors, to understand the underlying pathological abnormality, and to investigate possible agents, aiming to propose measures to replace or control the use of agents and prevention of occurrence of new cases. Furthermore, the use of noninvasive techniques, particularly the cytology of sputum, may facilitate the differential diagnosis and treatment of work-related asthma, and produce evidence to legal support the worker. (AU)

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