BACKGROUND: Results from many studies suggest that workplace exposure to organic dust may lead to adverse respiratory effects in exposed workers. AIM: In order to assess the respiratory effects of the workplace exposure to hardwood dust we performed a cross-sectional study of never-smoking male workers employed in parquet manufacture and never-smoking male office workers as a control. MATERIAL AND METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional study including 37 never-smoking male workers employed in parquet manufacture and an equal number of never-smoking male office workers studied as a control. Evaluation of examined subjects included completion of a questionnaire for respiratory symptoms in the last 12 months and baseline spirometry performed according to the actual recommendations. RESULTS: We found a higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms in parquet manufacturers than in office workers with significant difference for cough and phlegm. Majority of the respiratory symptoms in the parquet manufacturers were work-related. The mean values of all spirometric parameters with exception of forced ventilatory capacity (FVC) were significantly lower in the parquet manufacturers as compared to their mean values in the office workers. We found close relationship between both the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and the reduction of spirometric parameters in the parquet manufacturers and the duration of the workplace exposure to wood dust. CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that workplace exposure to hardwood dust may lead to adverse respiratory effects indicating the need of adequate preventive measures in order to protect the respiratory health of exposed workers.
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