Respiratory Health Following Long Term Occupational Exposure to Fiberglass Dust

Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal 01/2010; 12(2).
Source: DOAJ


Background: Despite the wide application of fiberglass, its respiratory effects have not been extensively studied.The purpose of this study was to further examine this issue among a group of workers occupationally exposed tothis compound.Methods: This is a historical-cohort study in which the respiratory health of 49 workers exposed to fiberglass aswell as 42 unexposed employees as the referent group from a local fiberglass industry was evaluated. A standardizedrespiratory questionnaire was used. The subjects underwent chest x-ray and were examined by a physicianfor any possible respiratory abnormalities. Furthermore, pulmonary function tests were performed justbefore the work shift. Moreover, to assess the extent to which subjects had been exposed to fiberglass dust,respirable dust concentrations were measured in different dusty work sites, using standard methods.Results: The average age of the exposed subjects and the duration of exposure were 39.6±7.34 and 11.2±5.59years, respectively. Atmospheric concentrations of respirable fraction of fiberglass dust in dusty work sites,namely Line and Tissue units, were found to be 44.5 and 6.27 mg/m3, respectively. The prevalence of respiratorysymptoms and abnormalities in the chest x-ray of the exposed and unexposed subjects was not significantlydifferent. Lung function parameters, i.e., vital capacity (VC), forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volumein the first second (FEV1), and percentage ratio of FEV1 to FVC in the exposed workers were comparable withthose of the control subjects. Significant associations between the length of exposure to fiberglass and age withFEV1/FVC ratio were noted.Conclusion: The results support that exposure to fiberglass dust is unlikely to be associated with respiratorysymptoms, abnormal radiographic changes or functional impairments of the lungs.

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