Author(s): Noor H, Yap CL, Zolkepli O, Faridah M
Exposure to Portland cement dust has long been associated with the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and varying degrees of airway obstruction in man. Apart from respiratory diseases, it was also found to be the cause of lung and laryngeal cancer, gastrointestinal tumours and also dermatitis. This study was done to investigate the effect of dust exposure on ventilatory lung function of Portland cement factory workers in Rawang, Selangor. Spirometry tests of 62 male workers (exposed to total dust concentration of 10,180 micrograms/m3 and PM10 of 8049 micrograms/m3) and 70 subjects from UPM (exposed to mean total dust of 192 micrograms/m3 and PM10 of 177 micrograms/m3--controls) revealed significant differences in spirometry values between the groups. The workers showed i) significantly lower FEV1% and FEF25-75%, and higher FMFT, ii) reduced FEV1% with increasing level of dust exposure and iii) higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms. Therefore, we suggest that exposure to dust in the cement factory leads to higher incidence of respiratory symptoms and impaired lung function.