Examination of the records of employees leaving an electronics factory over three-and-a-half years showed that a significantly greater proportion left the shop floor (where soldering took place) because of ill health than left the stores and office areas. This difference was largely due to work-related respiratory disease in those whose job was soldering. Shop floor workers leaving for health reasons also had increased sickness certification due to respiratory illness compared to stores and office workers. These findings suggest that work-related respiratory illness is a significant cause of morbidity and loss of employment in solderers working at the factory and that this has been a longstanding problem with its onset before the first recorded cases of occupational asthma caused by solder flux containing colophony.
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