Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2023 Dec 18. doi: 10.1007/s00420-023-02035-x. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: The effect marker club cell protein (CC16) is secreted by the epithelium of the small respiratory tract into its lumen and passes into the blood. Increased amounts of CC16 in serum are observed during acute epithelial lung injury due to air pollutants. CC16 in serum was determined as part of this cross-sectional study in underground potash miners on acute and chronic health effects from exposures to diesel exhaust and blasting fumes.
METHODS: Nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and diesel particulate matter were measured in 672 workers at a German potash mining site on a person-by-person basis over an early shift or midday shift, together with CC16 serum concentrations before and after the respective shift. CC16 concentrations and CC16 shift-differences were evaluated with respect to personal exposure measurements and other quantitative variables by Spearman rank correlation coefficients. CC16 shift-differences were modeled using multiple linear regression. Above-ground workers as reference group were compared to the exposed underground workers.
RESULTS: Serum concentrations of CC16 were influenced by personal characteristics such as age, smoking status, and renal function. Moreover, they showed a circadian rhythm. While no statistically significant effects of work-related exposure on CC16 concentrations were seen in never smokers, such effects were evident in current smokers.
CONCLUSION: The small airways of current smokers appeared to be vulnerable to the combination of measured work-related exposures and individual exposure to smoking. Therefore, as health protection of smokers exposed to diesel exhaust and blasting fumes, smoking cessation is strongly recommended.