Reduced FVC among California grape workers

T. E. Gamsky, Stephen A Mccurdy, S. J. Samuels, Marc B Schenker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Pulmonary disease due to organic and inorganic dust inhalation represents a significant health problem in the agricultural community. In response to concern over the potential adverse health effects of agricultural exposures, and to address the question of whether the specific crop worked was associated with decreased lung function, we conducted a cross-sectional survey of pulmonary function in a population of 238 grape workers, 355 tomato workers, and 166 citrus workers in California's Central Valley. In addition, 92 workers (66 males and 26 females) performed spirometry before and after an 8-h work shift. Multiple regression analysis of pulmonary function in all 759 workers revealed that age, height, and smoking-adjusted mean preshift FVC was lower in grape workers than in citrus workers in each of three sex and age groups studied: decreased 314 ml for males ≥ 25 yr of age p < 0.05, 82 ml for males < 25 yr, and 83 ml for females ≥ 20 yr. Mean adjusted preshift FVC was also lower in grape workers than tomato workers (decreased 249 ml in males ≥ 25 yr [p < 0.05], 51 ml for males < 25 yr, and 46 ml for females ≥ 20 yr). Adjusted mean FEV1 was not different by crop, but FEV1/FVC and forced-expiratory flow from 25 to 75% of the FVC (FEF25-75) were significantly elevated in grape workers of the three age and sex groups compared with citrus or tomato workers. Male grape workers demonstrated a significant cross-shift decrease in mean FVC (-149 ml; p = 0.001). Smaller cross-shift changes were noted in citrus and tomato workers (+81 and -29 ml, respectively). No differences in cross-shift change by crop were present for FEV1 or FEF25-75 nor were significant cross-shift changes observed for any pulmonary function outcomes among females. We conclude that grape workers demonstrate reduced FVC consistent with crop-specific agricultural exposures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-262
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Review of Respiratory Disease
Issue number2 II SUPPL.
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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