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Annals of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

, 25:24

First Online: 21 October 2013Received: 12 June 2013Accepted: 10 October 2013DOI: 10.1186-2052-4374-25-24

Cite this article as: Choi, S., Won, YL., Kim, D. et al. Ann of Occup and Environ Med 2013 25: 24. doi:10.1186-2052-4374-25-24


ObjectivesThe present study was designed to determine whether there is a relationship between indium compound exposure and interstitial lung damage in workers employed at indium tin oxide manufacturing and reclaiming factories in Korea.

MethodsIn 2012, we conducted a study for the prevention of indium induced lung damage in Korea and identified 78 workers who had serum indium or Krebs von den Lungen-6 KL-6 levels that were higher than the reference values set in Japan 3 μg-L and 500 U-mL, respectively. Thirty-four of the 78 workers underwent chest high-resolution computed tomography HRCT, and their data were used for statistical analysis.

ResultsGeometric means geometric standard deviations for serum indium, KL-6, and surfactant protein D SP-D were 10.9 6.65 μg-L, 859.0 1.85 U-mL, and 179.27 1.81 ng-mL, respectively. HRCT showed intralobular interstitial thickening in 9 workers. A dose–response trend was statistically significant for blood KL-6 levels. All workers who had indium levels ≥50 μg-L had KL-6 levels that exceeded the reference values. However, dose–response trends for blood SP-D levels, KL-6 levels, SP-D levels, and interstitial changes on the HRCT scans were not significantly different.

ConclusionsOur findings suggest that interstitial lung changes could be present in workers with indium exposure. Further studies are required and health risk information regarding indium exposure should be communicated to workers and employers in industries where indium compounds are used to prevent indium induced lung damage in Korea.

KeywordsIndium Interstitial lung disease Occupational exposure Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-2052-4374-25-24 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Sungyeul Choi - Yong-Lim Won - Dohyung Kim - Gwang-Yong Yi - Jai-Soung Park - Eun-A Kim


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