Respiratory effects of exposure to dust from herbs.

Marcin Golec 1, Czesława Skórska 2, Barbara Mackiewicz 2, Anna Góra 2, Jacek Dutkiewicz 2
1 - Department of Occupational Biohazards, Institute of Agricultural Medicine, Lublin,Poland.
2 -
Ann Agric Environ Med
2005; 12 (1):
ICID: 420266
Article type: Original article
A group of 150 people occupationally exposed to dust from herbs were examined.As a reference group, 50 urban dwellers, not exposed to any kind of organic dust were examined. Peoplewere subjected to routine physical examination and to lung function examinations with the LUNGTEST 500spirometer (MES, Kraków, Poland). The spirometric values of the forced expiratory volume in one second(FEV (1)), vital capacity (VC) and FEV(1)/VC were recorded before and after work. Physical chest examinationrevealed pathological crepitations in 10 people (6.7 %). The mean baseline spirometric values in thestudy and reference groups did not show significant differences compared to the normal values. In theherb workers exposed to organic dust the post-shift decrease of all analysed spirometric values was noted.The post-shift decrease of some spirometric values (VC, VC % of normal values) was highly significant(p < 0.01). There was evidenced of a significant positive correlation between the age of examined peopleand decrease of VC and FEV(1) values. In 12 exposed workers the decrease of FEV(1) or FEV(1) % of normalvalues higher than 15 % was noted. 50 % of these workers cultivated thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.). Thismay suggest that dust from herbs, especially thyme dust, may cause acute airway obstruction. In the groupshowing significant decrease of FEV(1)/FEV(1) % of normal values ( > 15 %) the frequency of reportedrespiratory work-related symptoms (83.3 %) was higher than in the rest of exposed group (61.5 %). Inconclusion, occupational exposure to dust from herbs may cause harmful effects on the respiratory systemamong herb processing workers. This indicates the need for use of prophylactic measures in this professionalgroup, the more so as number of people occupationally exposed to dust from herbs is growing.
PMID 16028858 - click here to show this article in PubMed

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