Pulmonary function impairment and airway allergy among workers in traditional bakeries
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Department of Community Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt
Department of Community Medicine, Occupational Health Group, Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, 41522, Egypt
Pumonary Medicine Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt
Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2013;26(2):214–219
Objectives: To assess the effect of exposure to flour dust on pulmonary function tests, prevalence of symptoms (respiratory, allergic/irritating) and parameters of allergic sensitization in terms of skin prick test, and bronchial hyper-responsiveness. Material and Methods: 43 bakers (with at least 2 years of occupational exposure) working at different bakeries in Ismailia city, Egypt; and 64 control subjects of comparable socio demographic characteristics were compared. All participants were subjected to an interview questionnaire, clinical chest examination, skin prick test, bronchial hyper-responsiveness test and measurements of pulmonary function parameters. Results: All respiratory and allergic symptoms were more prevalent among bakers compared to the control group, with the highest odds ratio for allergic symptoms (OR = 6.9; p < 0.0001) and dyspnea (OR = 6.3; p = 0.0004). Bakers had a higher percentage of SPT positive results with statistically significant difference between the two groups (p < 0.0001). Bakers had lower observed values compared to the control group with statistically significant difference for FVC, FEV1/FVC ratio, FEF75%, and FEF25-75% parameters. Conclusion: The present study suggested that occupational exposure to flour dust may affect respiratory irritation and sensitization, and reduce the pulmonary function tests such as FVC, FEV1, and FEV1/FVC ratio and FEF25-75%.