Cold blast furnace syndrome: a new source of toxic inhalation by nitrogen oxides.Occup Environ Med. 2004 May; 61(5):461-3.OE
To describe a new toxic inhalation syndrome in blast furnace workers.
Fourteen workers developed acute respiratory symptoms shortly after exposure to "air blast" from blast furnace tuyeres. These included chest tightness, dyspnoea, rigors, and diaphoresis. Chest radiographs showed pulmonary infiltrates, and lung function a restrictive abnormality. This report includes a description of clinical features of the affected workers and elucidation of the probable cause of the outbreak.
Clinical features and occupational hygiene measurements suggested the most likely cause was inhalation of nitrogen oxides at high pressure and temperature. While the task could not be eliminated, engineering controls were implemented to control the hazard. No further cases have occurred.
"Cold blast furnace syndrome" represents a previously undescribed hazard of blast furnace work, probably due to inhalation of nitrogen oxides. It should be considered in the differential diagnosis of acute toxic inhalational injuries in blast furnace workers.