[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A previously healthy man working as a machine operator in an automotive factory developed respiratory symptoms. Medical evaluation showed abnormal pulmonary function tests, a lung biopsy showed hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and his illness was traced to his work environment. His physician asked the employer to remove him from exposure to metalworking fluids. Symptoms reoccurred when he was later reexposed to metalworking fluids, and further permanent decrement in his lung function occurred. Investigation of his workplace showed that five of six large reservoirs of metalworking fluids (cutting oils) grew Mycobacterium chelonae (or Mycobacterium immunogenum), an organism previously associated with outbreaks of hypersensitivity pneumonitis in automaking factories. His lung function remained stable after complete removal from exposure. The employer, metalworking fluid supplier, union, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health were notified of this sentinel health event. No further cases have been documented in this workplace.
Environmental Health Perspectives 07/2005; 113(6):767-70. · 7.26 Impact Factor