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Work-Related Respiratory Symptoms Among Cotton-Fabric Sewing Workers

DOI: 10.2478/v10001-007-0011-7

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Abstract:

Objectives: An inspection of the sewing unit in a 700-bed hospital revealed that workers employed in this unit complained of cough, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to assess the prevalence of respiratory symptoms in the sewing workers and dust concentration in the workplace. The obtained results were compared with the control group. Materials and Methods: The sewing workers (n = 22, including 19 current and 3 former employees) and 22 housekeepers as controls were included in the study. All the participants responded to the respiratory questionnaire and underwent spirometric measurements, skin prick test, chest X-ray, and methacholine inhalation test. Environmental dust was measured using both an air pump and a vertical elutriator. Results: The sewing workers reported more symptoms of phlegm, chest tightness and eye irritation than persons of the control group. Neither clinical investigations nor respiratory disorders under study provided evidence for a significant difference between the sewing workers and the control group. Of the 22 subjects, 2 (9.1%) showed occupational asthma and 4 (18.2%) mucous membrane irritation and organic dust toxic symptoms. The total and respiratory dust was within normal limits, but the dust concentration measured by the elutriator was above the limit value of 0.34 ± 0.09 mg/m. After ventilation improvements, the dust level decreased to 0.19 ± 0.06 mg/m. Conclusions: This study indicated that respiratory and ocular disorders were related to organic dust produced during the sewing process of cotton fabric.

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