Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Never-Smoking Female Workers Exposed to Cotton Dust

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ABSTRACT

AIM: Textile workers in their work environment are exposed to airborne particulate from natural and synthetic origin. In the present study we aimed at assessment of prevalence and characterstics of COPD in never-smoking female workers employed at cotton weaving sector in textile manufacture.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: In order to assess chronic prevalence and characteristics of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in textile industry we performed a cross-sectional study including 47 never-smoking female cotton workers (aged 36 to 56 years) and an equal number of never-smoking female office workers studied as a control. Evaluation of examined subjects consisted of completion of a questionnaire, baseline spirometry, and bronchodilator reversibility testing.

RESULTS: We found higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms in cotton workers with significant difference for phlegm and dyspnea. Majority of the chronic respiratory symptoms in cotton workers were work-related. With exception of the mean value of forced vital capacity (FVC), the mean values of all other measured spirometric parameters in cotton workers were significantly lower than in office workers. The prevalence of COPD was significantly higher in cotton workers than in office workers (11.4% vs. 2.3%, P = 0,027). COPD in cotton workers was significantly associated with age higher than 45 years and with duration of exposure longer than 20 years.

CONCLUSION: Our findings support data about relationship between occupational exposure to organic dust in textile workers and persistent airflow limitation.

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