Author(s): AbuDhaise BA, Rabi AZ, al Zwairy MA, el Hader AF, el Qaderi S
Respiratory symptoms and pulmonary function were studied in a cross-sectional survey of 348 Portland cement workers in Jordan. The workers were differently exposed to dust for at least 3 years. The geometric means +/- SE of respiratory cement dust concentrations were 0.5 +/- 2.1, 1.6 +/- 2.61 and 3.9 +/- 4.02 mg/m3 in the three determined levels of exposure, respectively. About 42% of the workers reported various chronic respiratory symptoms, but cough, dyspnea, and asthma were most prevalent (18.7%, 17.5% and 15.8%, respectively). The prevalence of respiratory symptoms did not tend to increase with tenure. Asthma was significantly associated with the age of 30-39 years and showed a proportionate association with exposure level. Smokers had higher rates of symptoms than non-smokers. Rates of cough, phlegm, and wheeze increased proportionally to the number of cigarettes smoked per day. Overall pulmonary function indices were normal. When the independent variables were fit into a regression model, age significantly affected FEV1/FVC and current smoking affected FEF25-75%. It is concluded that inhalation of cement dust irritates the respiratory tree without markedly affecting lung function, and smoking aggravates this effect.