High Prevalence of Respiratory Symptoms among Particleboard Workers in Ethiopia: A Cross-Sectional Study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Work in the wood industry might be associated with respiratory health problems. The production of particleboard used for furniture making and construction is increasing in many countries, and cause dust, endotoxin and formaldehyde exposure of the workers. The aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and to measure lung function among Ethiopian particleboard workers using Eucalyptus trees as the raw material. In total 147 workers, 74 from particleboard production and 73 controls, participated in the study. Mean wood dust in the particleboard factories was measured to be above recommended limit values. Particleboard workers had a mean age of 28 years and the controls were 25 years. They had been working for 4 and 2 years, respectively. Lung function test was done using spirometry following American Thoracic Society (ATS) recommendations. Respiratory symptoms were collected using a standard questionnaire of ATS. Particleboard workers had higher prevalence of wheezing, cough, cough with sputum production, phlegm, and shortness of breath compared to controls. Lung function status was similar in the two groups. The symptoms might be related to the work in the factories. Longitudinal studies are recommended to explore the chronic impact of work in particleboard factories on respiratory health.