Workers in a modern electronics factory were surveyed by questionnaire and lung function testing to see if there was evidence of widespread work-related respiratory symptoms. Of the responding workers exposed to solder flux fumes on the shop floor, 22% had work-related breathlessness or wheeze or both. Exposed workers had a lower FEV1 and FVC than unexposed workers. Work-related rhinitis was also present in 22% of exposed workers. The most likely cause for these results is sensitivity to colophony fumes, released from solder flux during soldering. Levels of solder flux fume were below the threshold limit value in this factory during the survey.
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