Reduction in respiratory symptoms among cement workers: a follow-up study

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BackgroundSeveral studies have reported associations between cement dust exposure and adverse respiratory health effects, but there are few follow-up studies and no studies of respiratory health effects following dust control measures.AimsTo assess changes in respiratory health among cement workers and unexposed controls after 1 year in a factory implementing a health and safety campaign with the main aim to increase use of personal protective equipment. Earlier the factory had made technical improvements which had reduced dust levels.MethodsRespiratory questionnaire interviews and personal total dust exposure assessments were conducted in 2010 and 2011.ResultsA total of 171 cement workers and 98 controls participated in the study in 2010. The prevalence of cough, cough with sputum, dyspnoea and wheeze among the 134 exposed workers assessed at follow-up in 2011 was significantly lower than in 2010, but not among 63 controls followed up in 2011. Total dust exposure levels among exposed workers did not differ between 2010 and 2011.ConclusionsThe prevalence of respiratory symptoms among cement workers was reduced after 1 year of follow-up following an intervention campaign to improve use of personal protective equipment.

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