Respiratory health among hand pickers in primary coffee processing factories of Ethiopia
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Objective: The aim of this study was to assess chronic respiratory symptoms and lung function among female hand pickers. Methods: A total of 374 hand pickers exposed to coffee dust and 175 female controls from water bottling factories were included. The symptoms were assessed using a standardized questionnaire. Personal total dust exposure and lung function tests were performed. Results: Hand pickers experienced a higher dust exposure, displayed a higher prevalence ratio for cough [prevalence ratio (PR) = 3.0, 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.4 to 6.2] and work-related shortness of breath (PR = 2.5, 95% CI: 1.1 to 5.6), and had a lower FEF25–75 than controls. Hand pickers without tables had a significantly higher prevalence ratio of cough with sputum (PR = 3.9, 95% CI: 1.6 to 9.5) and lower forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, and mean forced expiratory flow between 25% and 75% of the FVC than hand pickers with tables. Conclusion: Hand pickers show a range of adverse symptoms and lung function impairments that warrant efforts to improve working conditions.