Asthma and alveolitis due to domestic waste

  • Refuse collectors
  • Treatment plant employee
Bacteria, Dust, fongal spores, Endotoxins.
Unknown, but sufficiently high that communal research programmes have been set up both within Europe and in collaboration with the USA.
Personnel involved in all areas of this work may be affected, including manual sorting of open-air dumping, in incineration plants and in the transport of waste. These areas of work are at high risk for exposure to pulmonary pathogens.
Respiratory symptoms include cough, bronchitis and allergic alveolitis. Gastro-intestinal problems, muscle pain, skin and eye irritation have also been reported.
Diagnostic methods
There are few convincing tests. In some cases, the drop in the FEV1 is linked to the concentration of bacterial toxins.


  1. Sci. Total Environ. 1995,168:33

As in all diagnostic testing, the diagnosis is made by the physican based on both test results and the patient history.