Airways symptoms, immunological response and exposure in powder painting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Powder painting is an alternative to solvent-based spray painting. Powder paints may contain organic acid anhydrides (OAAs), which are irritants to the airways and may cause sensitisation. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and immunological response among powder painters and to describe the exposure to OAAs. Methods: In all, 205 subjects in 32 enterprises participated: 93 exposed and 26 formerly exposed workers in 25 powder paint shops and 86 unexposed workers. They completed a questionnaire about working conditions and symptoms and took part in a medical examination, which included a lung function test. Urine samples, for determination of two OAAs, and blood samples, for analysis of specific antibodies against the OAAs, were taken. In addition, 33 paint samples were analysed for nine OAAs. Results: The powder painters reported more work-related respiratory symptoms than unexposed subjects did. The prevalence of three or more symptoms was 24% in subjects with low exposure, 44% in highly exposed individuals, 46% in formerly exposed subjects and 19% in unexposed workers. Asthma symptoms were frequent, 7%, 40%, 15% and 2%, respectively. Regression analyses of the lung volumes did not show any influence of exposure. IgG, but not IgE, against the OAAs and metabolites of OAAs was found in some subjects, but no associations with the exposure could be observed. OAAs were found in only small amounts in the paint samples. Conclusions: The exposure to organic acid anhydrides was estimated to be low, and yet, IgG antibodies to OAA were observed in some subjects. The prevalence of work-related symptoms from the eyes and the airways was relatively high among the powder painters, and these symptoms, but not the lung volumes, were clearly related to exposure. The symptoms were probably caused by irritative properties of the powder paint dust.


  • A Blomqvist
  • Meltem Düzakin
  • C G Ohlson
  • L Andersson
  • Bo A Jönsson
  • Jörn Nielsen
  • Hans Welinder
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health


  • symptoms, respiratory, asthma symptoms, powder painting, organic acid anhydrides
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-131
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Publication categoryResearch