Byssinosis and COPD rates among factory workers manufacturing hemp and jute
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Ataturk Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey (Pulmonary Diseases Department)
Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey (Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pulmonary Diseases)
University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA (Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, Environmental Health Sciences Research Center)
Istanbul Medical Park Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey (Department of Pulmonary Diseases and Interventional Bronchology)
Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey (Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health)
Corresponding author
Mukremin Er   

Ataturk Training and Research Hospital, Pulmonary Diseases Department, 06800 Bilkent, Ankara, Turkey
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2016;29(1):55-68
Objectives: Prior studies have been performed on cotton textile plants throughout the world. This study was planned to identify the rate of byssinosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in hemp and jute workers and those who worked with both of them. Material and Methods: The study was realized in a factory which consecutively processed hemp and jute. The study enrollment included 266 people, 164 of whom were active workers and 102 were retired. A questionnaire, plain chest X-rays, physical examination and pulmonary function tests were performed. Dust levels were measured in various sections of the factory during 8 h work shifts. Endotoxin levels of various quality hemp fibers and dusts were measured. Results: The rate of byssinosis (28.2%) was higher among the workers that who exposed to both jute and hemp dust. The frequency of chronic bronchitis in retired workers who previously smoked was higher (20%) as compared to currently smoking workers (17%). High dust levels were measured in some parts of the factory (mean (M) = 2.69 mg/m3). Working in dense dust areas, active smoking, being older than 40 years of age, being an ex-smoker, and working in the factory for a period exceeding 15 years were significantly associated with bronchitis and emphysema development. High endotoxin levels were determined for fine hemp dust (605 EU/mg), coarse hemp dust (336 EU/mg) and poor quality hemp fibers (114 EU/mg), whereas in fresh hemp stalks the level of endotoxin was determined to be lower (0.27 EU/mg). Conclusions: Because of high exposures to jute and hemp dusts that are associated with high byssinosis rates, personal protection and environmental hygiene is crucial to prevention of byssinosis.
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