A lot of workers in industries such as foundry, stonecutting, and sandblasting are exposed to higher than permissible levels of crystalline silica. Various alterations in humoral immune function have been reported in silicosis patients and workers exposed to silica dust. The aim of this study was to measure antinuclear antibody (ANA) and rheumatoid factor (RF) levels in foundry workers exposed to silica and to compare them with a control group without such exposure. ANA and RF were measured in 78 exposed and 73 non-exposed workers, and standard statistical methods were used to compare them. The two groups did not significantly differ in age and smoking. Mean work duration of the exposed and non-exposed workers was (14.9±4.72) years and (12.41±6.3) years, respectively. Ten exposed workers had silicosis. ANA was negative in all workers in either group. Its mean titer did not differ significantly between the exposed and control workers [(0.39±0.15) IU mL-1 vs. (0.36±0.17) IU mL-1, respectively]. RF was positive in two workers of each group. Other studies have reported an increase in ANA and RF associated with exposure to silica dust and silicosis.

In contrast, our study suggests that exposure to silica dust does not increase the level of ANA and RF in exposed workers.

English, Slovenian
Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Medicine, Basic Medical Science, other