The Influence of Workplace Environment on Lung Function of Flour Mill Workers in Jalgaon Urban Center

School of Environmental Sciences, North Maharashtra University, Jalgaon, India.
Journal of Occupational Health (Impact Factor: 1.11). 10/2006; 48(5):396-401. DOI: 10.1539/joh.48.396
Source: PubMed


The workplace environment affects the health of workers. Unhygienic conditions are observed in the workplace environment of flour mills as fine organic flour dust gets airborne in the indoor environment of the flour mills. The present work was undertaken to study the health problems related to the workplace environment of flour mill workers. The results show that flour mill workers are receiving a heavy dose (average exposure concentration, 624 microg/m3) of flour dust. To determine the impact of flour dust on the lung function of the workers spirometric analysis was conducted. Significant declines in forced vital capacity (FVC), peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) were observed in the flour mill workers as compared to expected values. This study reveals reduced lung efficiency of flour mill workers due to excessive exposure to fine organic dust prevalent in the workplace environment. The impairment in lung efficiency was increased with duration of exposure in the flour mill workers. The analysis of questionnaires used to generate information on self-reported problems reveals that most of the workers were suffering from asthma and respiratory problems. Furthermore, the data shows that 42% of the flour mill workers were having shortness of breath problems, 34% of workers were having frequent coughing, and 19% workers were having respiratory tract irritation. We recommend the compulsory use of personal protective equipment (nose mask) by flour mill workers during working hours. This would help to protect the workers health from the flour dust prevalent in the workplace environment. A regular periodic examination is necessary to measure the impact of particulate matter on the health of the flour mill workers.

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    • "These particles attach to the inner wall of the respiratory tract and disturb the process of inhalation and exhalation of air. The inner cell wall of the respiratory tract does not accept the foreign particles (flour dust), causing a slight irritation in the respiratory tract which is the primary symptom of respiratory disorder [43]. "
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