A comparative study of lung functions in flour mill workers and general population

Anupriya A. Deshpande*, Anshul Sharma, Suresh Y. Bondade, Brid S. V.


Indoor air pollution is causing a major health problem in developing countries due to rapid industrialization and ineffective pollution control measures. Flour dust is a respiratory sensitizer and chronic exposure to it could affect the pulmonary functions and stimulate allergic responses. This study is designed to investigate the effects of flour dust on the lung functions as it puts the workers’ health into jeopardy. Spirometry is an easy tool to detect lung function abnormalities at an early stage. Our aim is to study and compare the effects of flour dust on pulmonary functions of nonsmoking male flour mill workers with those of healthy subjects unexposed to flour dust. 50 adult non-smoking male workers from flour mills were selected for our study. 50 age and sex matched healthy subjects unexposed to such an occupational hazard were taken as controls. Forced expiratory spirograms were recorded by RMS medspiror. Parameters such as forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in 1st second (FEV1), the ratio of FEV1/FVC, forced expiratory flow in the middle half of FVC (FEF25-75%), peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) and maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV) were assessed in both cases and controls. The results were analyzed by using the student’s unpaired t-test. In our study, flour mill workers showed greater decline in FVC, FEV1, FEF25-75%, PEFR, MVV and FEV1/FVC ratio which is statistically highly significant, suggesting obstructive pulmonary disorder. The present study showed impairment in lung functions in flour mill workers. It is suggested that all flour mills must be well ventilated and workers should be provided with masks during duty hours. Lastly, labour laws must be enforced for promoting good health. 


Flour dust; Pulmonary functions; Spirometer

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21746/ijbio.2014.01.008


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