P II – 3–7 Occupational health of workers in the potash industry: a retrospective study

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Background/aimThe previous works on health of mine workers were mainly related to the respiratory issues due to work with dust. A higher prevalence in cough, dyspnea and chronic bronchitis was observed, but better pulmonary function among high/low exposed potash workers. The aim of this study was to observe Odds ratios for several groups of diseases in potash industry workers vs farmers from the same region.MethodsA retrospective epidemiological study of two cohorts was used to calculate prevalent rates for studies populations and Odds ratios for some diseases (covered period of observation 1984–1995).ResultsThe industrial workers had higher prevalence rates in all observed diseases types (respiratory system, mental health, musculoskeletal, ocular and hearing organs systems). On average, ORs for the observed period were as the following ones:Respiratory diseases (5.8);Hearing organs system (4.7);diseases of ocular system (4.3);mental health (4.1), andmuscuoskeletal diseases (1.8).The dynamics of ORs was stable except of ocular system and mental health, where the slight increase have been observed after the year 1991 that could be related to synergetic mechanisms with other environmental effects due to the consequences of the Chernobyl accident.ConclusionAlthough in those years the protective measures for workers of the potash industry were successfully implemented, some occupational health problems were still observed. Other improvements with regards to the health of the industrial workers are recommended, including preventive or rehabilitation measures; as well as behavioural interventions.

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