Objectives: We determined the prevalence of respiratory symptoms, bronchial asthma and obstructive lung disease among selected tannery workers.
Method: We conducted a cross-sectional study during 2010-2011 among leather tannery workers in Karachi, Pakistan. The total population of workers in the tannery was 250. A cohort of 160 workers was selected on a convenience sampling basis. Fifty-two controls were selected from the local community. Data was collected through a questionnaire, and lung function tests were carried out by trained professionals to measure FEV1, FVC, PEFR and the FEV1/FVC ratio.
Results: Among tannery workers we found whistling symptoms in 20% of the group, awakening from sleep due to a tightness of chest in 23%, diffi culty in breathing in 24%, excessive coughing in 25%, and out of breath on a usual walk in 41%. Among controls, awakening from sleep due to tightness of the chest was 4%, excessive coughing was 4%and shortness of breath during a usual walk was 4%. The prevalence of asthma was 7% in the tannery workers and 4% in the controls. We found obstructive lung diseases in 39.4% of the workers as compared to 11.5% among controls. 64% of the asthmatics considered that their asthma was related to work. A statistically signifi cant relationship was found between bronchial asthma, respiratory symptoms and duration of exposure, smoking, ethnicity and nasal and skin manifestations.
Conclusion: The study showed a high prevalence of bronchial asthma, respiratory symptoms and obstructive lung disease among tannery workers, and that it was related to duration of exposure, ethnicity, smoking and nasal and skin allergies.
Published on: Jan 30, 2017 Pages: 33-42