BACKGROUND:: Lung reactions to exposure to dust, gases, and fumes at work places have been studied in different populations. The emission level of pollutants that emit particulate matter less than 10 micrometers in size (PM 10) has been found very high in Ahmedabad. Hence, petrol pump workers in Ahmedabad are likely to get exposed to a high level of air pollution along with petrol and diesel vapors. Both of these factors can affect the respiratory health of petrol pump workers. MATERIALS AND METHODS:: A cross-sectional observational study was conducted at 53 different petrol pumps of Ahmedabad. A total of 227 petrol pump workers underwent pulmonary function testing. Their spirometry parameters were compared with 227 age-matched, healthy controls. RESULTS:: A significant reduction (P < 0.001) was found in the spirometry parameters, such as, forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV(1)), forced expiratory flow (FEF(25-75)), and peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) in petrol pump workers, as compared to the controls. The mean values of FEV(1)/FVC (%) were significantly increased (P < 0.001). A decline in FVC was not significantly different among the workers according to the duration of exposure. As the duration of exposure increased, there was a progressive decline in FEV(1)/FVC (%) and FEF(25-75). CONCLUSION:: The study concludes that the deleterious effects of air pollution and petrol/diesel vapor inhalation on the lung function of petrol pump workers results in a restrictive type of lung function abnormality. The pattern of respiratory impairment changes to a mixed type as the duration of exposure increases.
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