565 Toxic effects of the work enviroment – a retrospective 5 years study in three textile factories

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Abstract

Introduction

Several types of natural fibres used in textile/clothing industry causes respiratory diseases, such as: asthma, allergic rhinitis, allergic alveolitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), whose number has increased constantly over the last few years.The respiratory adverse effects of professional exposure to natural fibres dust (as cotton, wool, flax, cashmere) in the textile industry was first described several centuries ago as a syndrome later called byssinosis. Then, World Health Organisation included other criterias to differentiate and to diagnose long-time respiratory disease.

Methods

A number of 1180 employees from three garments factories were monitored (on the occasion of the annual medical examination), between May-September, synchronous with the professional pollutant determinations (cotton, linen, wool, carried out by the Public Health Authority of the county). Spirometry has also been performed on all employees.

Results

Although the dust determinations were within the limits imposed by the local legislation in force, we found that values close to the upper limit of normal are associated with a higher concentration of respiratory pathological phenomena and changes in spirographic parameters. Increased humidity, high temperature, and low or zero airflow rates at work create more significant changes in respiratory indices, especially on the first working day of the week (Monday-morning syndrome).

Discussion

The textile industry is an important sector of concentration of professional respiratory pathology. The microclimate of the workplace, the concentration and type of textile dust, as well as the personal illness history (recurrent respiratory infections, extraprofessional allergens, psychosocial factors – stress, and neuro-endocrine factors, as well as physical effort) contribute to the initiation and maintenance of physiopathological mechanisms. Cessation of exposure and correction of professional factors lead, in most cases, to remission of symptoms and improving the quality of life.

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