Cross-Shift Study of Acute Respiratory Effects in Cement Production Workers
Cement dust exposure is associated with increased respiratory impairment. As the major occupational hazard in the cement production industry is cement particles, our aim was to more thoroughly examine the acute effects of occupational exposure to cement dust on the respiratory system. A cross-shift study was conducted in a cement factory in Iran. 100 high exposed workers from production and packing sections and 100 low exposed from office workers were included. Environmental total dust was measured in each section. Assessment of lung function was done by pre and post shift spirometry. At the end of the day shift, acute respiratory symptoms were recorded. The means of total dust among high and low exposed workers were 16.55 mg/m3 and 0.9 mg/m3, respectively. The most common acute respiratory symptoms in high exposed workers were stuffy nose (52%) and shortness of breath (49%). A statistically significant post shift reduction in PEF, FEV1, FEF 25-75, FVC and FEV1/ FVC was demonstrated in high exposed group. Multivariate linear regression showed a significant relationship between the percentage of the cross-shift decrease in spirometric indices and exposure to cement dust. We detected significant relationship between exposure to cement dust and acute respiratory symptoms and pulmonary function indices. Effective dust-control measures and preparing a suitable strategy for respiratory protection are highly recommended.
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