Peripheral eosinophilia and respiratory symptoms in rubber injection press operators: A case‐control study

Richard J. Thomas, Rebecca Bascom, William N. Yang, John F. Fisher, Michael E. Baser, Janet Greenhut, John H. Baker

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8 Scopus citations


To evaluate a suspected association between an outbreak of acute respiratory illness and eosinophilia and employment as a rubber worker, we performed a retrospective review of medical records of rubber workers employed from September 1983 to July 1984 in a plant housing a thermoinjection process. Twenty‐five workers met the case definition of a respiratory illness requiring a physician visit. The predominant respiratory illness was acute in onset with cough, chest tightness, and dyspnea. Peripheral eosinophilia, up to 40% of white blood cells in a peripheral smear, was seen in 10 of 18 (56%) cases. Twenty‐one of 25 white males with respiratory symptoms were employed in the thermoinjection process (odds ratio = 22, p < .001). Smoking and employment in this process contributed independently to an increased risk of being a case as determined by a logistic regression analysis. Return to the plant building caused recurrence of symptoms in most cases, and these workers have been transferred or left the company. We conclude that a strong previously unrecognized association exists between employment in this neoprene rubber thermoinjection process and the development of an acute respiratory illness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-559
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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