The effects of exposure to organic dust on the respiratory system of potato processing workers.
More details
Hide details
Clinic of Lung Diseases, Medical Academy, Lublin, Poland
Department of Occupational Biohazards, Institute of Agricultural Medicine, Lublin, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2002;9(2):243–247
A cross-sectional study was carried out to evaluate lung function and the prevalence of work-related symptoms in workers of a potato processing plant located in Lublin region (eastern Poland). The study group comprised 61 workers employed in 2 departments. The examination included: physician-administrated questionnaire on occurrence of work-related symptoms, occupational history and smoking habits. Spirometry was performed before (7:00-8:00) and after (16:00-17:00) the morning shift. Altogether 41/61 (67.2%) subjects reported at least one symptom associated with their job. Pulmonary symptoms were recorded in 28/61 (45.9%) subjects. The most commonly recorded complaints were: cough (44.3%), hoarseness (19.7%), shortness of breath (18%), followed by headache and skin lesion (13.1% each), and eye and nose irritation (11.5%). The prevalence of work-related symptoms (except for eye and nose irritation) was higher in the group of subjects working longer than 4 years (the difference was statistically significant only for skin lesion). Among non-smoking workers a significantly higher prevalence of headache was seen compared to smokers (Fisher's test, p<0.05). Smokers complained more frequently of respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, hoarseness and chest pain. The difference was significant only for cough (p<0.05). A statistically significant over-shift decline in all measured spirometric values: FVC, FEV(1) (p<0.001), FEV(1)/VC (p<0.05), PEF (p<0.01) was observed.