This page in Swedish

Research projects

Quartz- and particle exposure in iron foundries- mechanisms and impact on inflammation and coagulation markers for respiratory effects and cardiovascular disease

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress

Research subject

Dust and quartz exposure in foundries is an established risk environment for silicosis, lung cancer, and effects on the respiratory system and lung function. Dust and quartz exposure is also considered to contribute to the increased cardiovascular morbidity among iron foundry workers. Particle exposure and stimulation of inflammatory and coagulation reactions are considered to be a mechanisms leading to cardiovascular morbidity. Also chronic bronchitis has been associated with effects on inflammation and coagulation markers, as well as coughing. We have in previous projects studied exposure to air pollutants in different environments and found correlation between dust and particle exposure and inflammatory and coagulation markers in a number of industrial environments.

The discovery of the NLRP3 inflammasome has increased our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of air pollution health risks. The inflammasome is a signal complex which detects different types of contaminants including particles of asbestos, quartz and nanoparticles. Inflammasome activity is among the most potent inflammatory drivers in the human body and an overzealous inflammatory response often lead to destructive disease.

Our hypothesis is that the quartz particles foundry workers are exposed to at their work place contributes to the increased cardiovascular morbidity by giving rise to a constantly active inflammasome, leading to an ongoing inflammation.

  • The purpose of the study is to investigate the dose-effect relationship between dust and quartz exposure and early markers signaling effects on airway inflammation and coagulation.
  • We intend to study dust and quartz exposure and other particulate matter in Swedish foundries while investigating inflammatory and coagulation markers and the effect on the airways.
  • We will also study the mechanisms of inflammation and coagulation induced by particle exposure.
  • The aim is to determine the lowest observed adverse effect levels (LOAEL) for biomarkers and effects on the respiratory tract. Such a level can be the basis for improvements to safety and future exposure limits.

The study also includes communicating the risk of dust and quartz exposure with employees in Swedish iron foundries, and various interest groups