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Respiratory symptoms and pulmonary functions among masons and office workers in Benin City, Nigeria

A.R. Isara
A.Q. Aigbokhaode


Development and urbanization has increased construction of houses and roads in Nigeria and this has directly increased the number of workers exposed to cement dust. Our objective is to determine the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and ventilatory functions among masons and office workers in Benin City, Nigeria. This cross-sectional comparative study was carried out among 98 masons and 87 office workers in Benin City, Nigeria. Information on socio-demographic characteristics and respiratory symptoms were collected using sections of the validated BOLD questionnaire. Spirometry was carried out using a KoKo Legend spirometer. The masons (mean age 57.3 ± 11.3 years) were significantly older than the office workers (mean age 41.9 ± 11.6 years) [p < 0.001]. The masons had more symptoms of cough 27 (27.6%), phlegm 26 (26.5%), wheeze 26 (26.5%) and chest tightness 21 (21.4%) than the office workers with cough 5 (5.7%), phlegm 5 (5.7%), wheeze 4 (4.6%) and chest tightness 3 (3.4%) [p < 0.001]. The mean FEV , 1 FEV /FVC ratio and PEFR of the masons were lower than that of office workers; 1 2.544L vs 2.749L (p = 0.104), 0.773 vs 0.851 (p < 0.001) and 6.105L vs 7.142L (p = 0.004) respectively. A higher proportion 17 (20.2%) of masons had obstructive respiratory abnormality (p = 0.029) while the office workers 23 (34.8%) had more restrictive respiratory abnormality (p = 0.001). Masons have a higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms and reduced lung functions especially obstructive respiratory abnormalities when compared with office workers. This finding should be of great concern to local health authorities in Nigeria.

Keywords: Masons; office workers; cement dust; respiratory symptoms; lung functions; Nigeria

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eISSN: 3026-8273
print ISSN: 1596-6941