Respiratory symptoms due to endotoxines in the textile industry

Project No. BGFA MED/IMM010


completed 12/2001


The aim of the study was to evaluate whether an increased prevalence of lung function problems or other inflammatory disorders can be identified in cotton mill workers with special respect to the concentration of inhalative endotoxin exposure at the workplace.


Air measurements of endotoxines, bacteria, fungi and dust. Classification of the workers into different exposure groups. Development of standardized questionnaires, lung function measurement, serum analysis regarding specific IgG and IgE antibodies. Metacholine testing; nasal lavage for determination of immunological parameters before and after work shift (cross-shift).


No increased lung function disorders in the tested cotton mill. However, the height of endotoxine exposure was correlated with conspicuous lung function results within the male probands. 34 of the workers showed elevated IgG-concentrations independent of the endotoxine exposure. No correlation between endotoxine-exposure and endotoxin-relevant immunological parameters in nasal lavages.

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Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Forschungsinstitut für Arbeitsmedizin (BGFA), Bochum
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitssicherheit - BIA, Sankt Augustin
  • Zentralinstitut für Arbeitsmedizin (ZfA), Hamburg


Type of hazard:

Arbeitsbedingte Erkrankungen, Arbeitsbedingte Gesundheitsgefahren, Biologische Arbeitsstoffe


Prävention, Gesundheitliche Beeinträchtigungen und Störungen, Allergisierende Stoffe

Description, key words:

cotton mill, cross-section study, lung function measurement, nasal washing, measurement of dust, bacteria, fungi and endotoxines. The prevalence of respiratory disorders is associated with the endotoxine concentration.