Respiratory Health Effects of Occupational Exposure to Flour Dust among Flour Mill Workers in Edo and Delta States
Introduction: The study was carried out to assess the level of suspended particulate matter (dust) in the work environment of flour mills in Edo and Delta States and to ascertain the respiratory health effect of occupational exposure to flour dust by comparing the prevalence of respiratory symptoms amongst these flour mill workers to that of an unexposed group.
Methods: Comparative cross-sectional study design was utilized for the study and it was carried out over a period of six months, (Nov 2010 to May 2011) among 200 flour mill workers and 200 hospital workers in Edo and Delta states. A modified Medical Research Council (MRC) questionnaire which was interviewer administered and Haz dust particulate monitor was used to collect data. Data analysis was carried out using SPSS version 17.
Results: The level of (dust) suspended particulate matter in the work environment of the flour mills was 1.08mg/m3, whereas in the control site it was 0.03mg/m3,this was statistically significant (p<0.015). Also the prevalence of all the symptoms was higher among the flour mill workers compared with that of an unexposed group, and this was statistically significant for most of the symptoms (p<0.001).
Conclusion: The level of suspended particulate matter in the work environment of the flour mills exceeded the set limits by the regulatory body in the country, hence the need for the management of the flour mills to put in place better dust control measures as well as carry out regular medical checks to assess the health of the workers.
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