Read research and outcomes on this theme – “Meat Wrappers’ Asthma Research and Its Outcomes“.
There are several shortcomings that should be emphasized:
- The small number of workers studied may not have been representative. However, they were selected on the basis of the severity of their symptoms.
- We blocked up the air conditioning and exercised them in a room which became quite hot. They normally work in a cold environment. There is evidence that cold inhalation increases the tendency to asthma. However, in a recent study of refrigerated meat departments by Krumpe, Finley and Martinez findings were completely negative, as those reported here.
- Many of the symptoms from the fumes are related to the nose, eyes and throat We did not test nasal resistance or lacrimation.
- We exposed only a few workers to the labeling fumes. However, all but one of the 16 workers said the fumes from the PVC cutting affected them more than the labeling and we found no changes in those we did expose to label fumes.
A review of the literature tends to support our findings, Andrasch and coworkers, who described the syndrome due to the labels, found only 3 of 11 of their patients had any drop in FEVx after a three-hour exposure to PVC.
It may be that the understandable public reaction against environmental pollution sometimes makes us more concerned about apparent inhalation diseases than they merit We believe there is a group of diseases which should, perhaps, be labeled “could-have-been-osis.” These include the could-have-been-gasosis, which afflicted so many veterans of the First World War until it was realized their symptoms were actually due to cigarette smoking. The could-have-been-thesaurosis which afflicted hairdressers turned out to be mainly sarcoidosis (read more). We think that meat wrappers’ asthma is another could-have-been. The meat wrappers syndrome of upper airway irritation with occasional nonspecific bronchoconstriction from PVC fumes may remain a problem, however, until cold cutting devices completely replace hot wire cutting.