CASE REPORT
Respiratory symptoms and peak expiratory flow rates among furniture-decorationstudents.
 
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Abant Izzet Baysal University, Duzce Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Duzce, Turkey. periarbak@hotmail.com
 
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2004;11(1):13–17
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ABSTRACT
This study was designed to evaluate the effects of furniture production,mainly including fir tree (aberia mulleriana), on respiratory health of young workers and to comparethe results with those obtained from previous studies. Sixty-four furniture-decoration students (57 malesand 7 females) and 62 controls (54 male, 8 female) from different departments in the same school wereincluded into the study. All participants were assessed with a questionnaire (concerning history of occupationalexposure, work-related respiratory and other symptoms, smoking history, previous asthma history), fullphysical examination, spirometric evaluation and chest radiograph. Participants then performed serialmonitoring of peak expiratory flow rates (PEFR) at work and away from work within a month. Mean age ofstudents was 20.9 +/- 3.7 years, 20.5 +/- 2.6 years in controls. There was no difference between studyand control groups with regard to age, gender, smoking status and previous asthma history. Reported cough(23.4 % vs. 8.1 %) and shortness of breath (18.8 % vs. 6.5 %) were significantly higher in furniture-decorationstudents than in controls (p = 0.016 and p = 0.034, respectively). Furniture-decoration students hadhigher conjunctivitis (34.4 % vs. 9.7 %, p = 0.001) and rhinitis (34.4 % vs. 19.4 %, p = 0.044) historywhen compared with controls. Both students and controls were normal in terms of respiratory examination.PEF recordings were performed for approximately one month. Diurnal variability greater than 20 % wasseen in 12/64 (18.7 %) of students at work, whereas it was detected in 4/62 (6.4 %) of controls (p =0.034). When comparing for the presence of diurnal variability greater than 20 % in weekends, no differencewas found between groups (p = 0.457). In conclusion, early detection of work-related respiratory changesby serial monitoring of peak expiratory flows should save the workers from hazardous respiratory effectsof the furniture production, especially in young population.
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