1 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Faculty of Health, Department of Occupational Health Engineering, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran
2 Department of Occupational Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, Iran
3 Health Care Administrator, National University of Medical Sciences, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
4 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Health, Torbat Heydariyeh University of Medical Sciences, Torbat Heydariyeh, Iran
5 Health Sciences Research Center, Torbat Heydariyeh University of Medical Sciences, Torbat Heydariyeh, Iran
6 Department of Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Torbat Heydariyeh University of Medical Sciences, Torbat Heydariyeh, Iran
7 Vice Chancellery of Health, Torbat Heydariyeh University of Medical Sciences, Torbat Heydariyeh, Iran
Dust exposure at quarry mines is inevitable and can result in poor air quality. This research aimed to assess pulmonary symptoms and lung functions of dust-exposed workers at an iron-ore mine in eastern Iran.
An environmental cross-sectional study sampled 174 dust-exposed mine workers and 93 unexposed administrative employees as the reference group. A standardized questionnaire on respiratory symptoms was completed in accordance with recommendations of the American Thoracic Society(ATS). Calibrated spirometer measured Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs). Data were analyzed via SPSS-21, integrating independent samples t-test, Chi-square and linear or logistic-regression models.
There was no significant variation between dust-exposed and reference groups in terms of age, weight, height, work experience and the number of smokers (P>0.05). Mean levels of exposure to inhalable and respirable mineral-dust were 15.09±2.34 and 3.45±2.57 mg/m3 respectively. Pulmonary capacities of dust-exposed group were considerably decreased as compared to others (Forced Vital Capacity [FVC] 86.55±13.77 vs. 105.05±21.5; Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second [FEV1] 88.06±16.8 vs. 105.81±21.55; FEV1/FVC 103.03±18.17 vs. 93.3±12.49; and Peak Expiratory Flow [PEF] 89.82±22.58 vs. 98.09±20.60) (P<0.001); with a higher prevalence of cough (P=0.041), wheezing (P=0.032), and dyspnea (P=0.035) among formers. Age along with exposure to respirable-dust significantly reduced FVC, FEV1 and FEV1/FVC. Cigarette consumption attenuated FVC and FEV1 on an average of 5 to 9 units.
Controlled occupational dust-exposure is a definitive pre-requisite to reduce respiratory problems among quarry workers, with an explicit consideration towards mineral- mine workers. Modifiable accomplices like smoking and non-compliance of PPEs usage should be amicably resolved.
open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Health, Torbat Heydariyeh University of Medical Sciences; Torbat Heydariyeh, Iran; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org