Nigerian Journal of Medicine

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Respiratory Symptoms and Pulmonary Function Impairment among Detergent Plant Workers in Jos, Northern Nigeria

M Babashani, Z Iliyasu, CO Okoli


Background: The industrial process of detergent production could be deleterious to lung function. This study describes respiratory symptoms and ventilatory function impairment among detergent workers in Jos, Northern Nigeria. Methods: Two hundred detergent plant workers and controls were studied for the presence of respiratory
symptoms and ventilatory function impairment using the MRC questionnaire and Spirometry.
Results: A significantly higher proportion of exposed detergent workers 178 (87.0%) reported respiratory symptoms compared to 52 (26.0%) controls [OR=23; 95%CI=12.9-41.3] (P<0.001). Commonest symptoms include rhinitis (57.5% versus 11.0%) and cough (48.5% versus 15%). Symptoms were most prevalent in the packaging section. FEV , FVC and PEFR were 1 significantly reduced among exposed detergent workers. Similarly, the predicted values of PEFR, FVC and FEV1 were significantly reduced among smokers (P<0.001). Conclusion: Respiratory symptoms are highly prevalent among detergent workers. This was associated with impaired pulmonary function. Protective equipment and
periodic lung function tests could reduce these effects.

Keywords: Respiratory symptoms, ventilatory function, detergent workers

Nigerian Journal of Medicine Vol. 17 (4) 2008: pp. 423-427
AJOL African Journals Online