Longitudinal analysis of respiratory outcomes among bauxite exposed workers in Western Australia

Occupational exposure to bauxite is common in the aluminium industry but little is known about the associated health effects. This study investigates respiratory health in relation to respirable bauxite dust exposure longitudinally over a 13-year period. An inception cohort study recruited 91 male bauxite miners and 363 male alumina refinery workers. Annual measurements of respiratory symptoms and lung function were made. Cumulative exposure to bauxite was derived from job histories and air monitoring data. Mixed-effects modelling was used. No associations were found between cumulative bauxite exposure and respiratory symptoms or lung function. However, when analysis was restricted to the first three rounds, FEV1 was significantly lower in all exposure groups than in those unexposed but with no significant trend. The authors concluded that increasing exposure to bauxite dust in the aluminium industry was not associated with respiratory symptoms or consistent decrements in lung function.

Authors: Dennekamp M, de Klerk NH, Reid A, Abramson MJ, Cui J, Del Monaco A, Fritschi L, Benke GP, Sim MR, Musk AW. ;Full Source: American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2015 Aug;58(8):897-904. doi: 10.1002/ajim.22492. Epub 2015 Jun 15. ;