Spirometry is a common pulmonary function test that measures how well a person moves air in and out of the lungs. Testing may be performed on workers who perform jobs that may cause exposure to possible lung hazards, are physically demanding or require wearing a respirator. Workers who inhale some types of dusts, gases or other airborne contaminants can, over time, experience lung damage. The spirometry test may detect breathing problems or significant changes in a worker’s lung function at an early stage. Spirometry testing is required for some workers by OSHA standards.

OSHA also recommends employers include spirometry testing in their medical surveillance programs to identify workers experiencing adverse health effects from exposure to flavorings, including food flavorings containing diacetyl.

Physical impairment is potentially present in many lung disorders. Indicators for obtaining pulmonary function testing (PFT) / Spirometry include:

  • History of any specific lung disease
  • Symptoms of shortness of breath, cough, chest tightness, or wheezing
  • Cigarette smoking in drivers 35 years of age or older

No further testing is necessary if the lung function is normal and no other abnormality is suspected. Abnormal lung function should be further evaluated.

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