Quantitative olfactory disorders and occupational exposure to phenolic resins
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Provincial Agency for Health Services in Trento, Trento, Italy (Unit for Health and Safety on the Workplaces, Department of Prevention)
University of Parma, Parma, Italy (Department of Biomedical, Biotechnological, and Translational Sciences)
Industria Abrasivi Parmense – Globe Srl, Parma, Italy
Parma University Hospital, Parma, Italy (Department of Clinical Surgery, General Surgery and Surgical Therapy, School of Nursing Sciences)
Matteo Riccó   

Provincial Agency for Health Services in Trento, Unit for Health and Safety on the Workplaces, Department of Prevention, Via Verona SNC (C/O Centro Servizi Sanitari), 38123 Trento, Italy
Med Pr 2016;67(2):173–186
Background: To investigate whether exposure to phenolic resins (PR) is associated with quantitative olfactory disorders (QOD), a cross-sectional study of self-reported olfactory impairment (SROI) was performed in occupationally exposed subjects. Material and Methods: Sixty-six workers (45 males, 21 females) at the age (mean ± standard deviation) of 39.8±10.15 years old were divided into 3 exposure groups on the basis of biological exposure indices (BEI) for urinary phenols. It was asked whether the sense of smell has been normal or abnormal during the recent 2 months: the participants were eventually divided into self-reported normosmic, hyposmic, hyperosmic groups. Results: Prevalence of the SROI was 45.5%, with 21 (31.8%) workers complaining about the hyposmia, 12 (18.2%) – anosmia and 9 (13.6%) – hyperosmia. In univariate analyses, female sex was associated with the SROI and the hyperosmia. Highly exposed workers showed the SROI more frequently (odds ratio (OR) = 4.714; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.077–20.626) than those not exposed (reference) or low exposed (OR = 1.333; 95% CI: 0.416–4.274). In multivariate analyses, female sex was the main risk factor for the SROI (adjusted odds ratio (ORa) = 5.622; 95% CI: 1.525–20.722) and the hyperosmia (ORa = 25.143; 95% CI: 2.379–265.7) but a high exposure to phenol (ORa = 11.133; 95% CI: 1.060–116.9) was the main risk factor for the anosmia. Conclusions: This study has found slight evidence among the cross-section of chemical industry workers that the exposure to phenol may be associated with the SROI. On the other hand, self-reporting of the QOD may be biased by personal factors and further research with objective measurement is therefore required. Med Pr 2016;67(2):173–186