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Exposure to powdered toner doesn’t significantly impact lung health: study

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Tokyo — Long-term exposure to powdered toner or toner-using machines has no significant impact on lung health, concludes a recent study of copier industry workers by researchers at Japan’s Showa University.

The researchers measured fibrotic changes in the lungs of 694 workers responsible for the manufacturing, maintenance or recycling of powdered toner or toner-using machines with X-rays, spirometry measurements, and serum and urine biomarkers. Testing occurred annually from 2003 to 2013.

Results showed that the workers did not show signs of pneumoconiosis – defined by the American Lung Association as any lung disease caused by dusts that are inhaled and deposited deep into the lungs. The researchers attributed this to “the current reasonably controlled work environmental conditions.”

However, when compared with a control group, exposed workers did show an increase in the frequency of respiratory symptoms and reduced spirometry results. The most significant changes were only seen in chronic coughs, the researchers said.

The study was published online Oct. 18 in the journal BMJ Open.

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