Center for Research on Occupational Disease, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Background: Respirable dust exposure is associated with increased respiratory impairment. As there are various airborne contaminants in the foundry industry, our aim was to thoroughly examine the acute effects of ambient respiratory dust on the respiratory system. Materials and Methods: A cross-shift study was conducted in a cast iron foundry in Iran. A total of 200 participants, including 110 workers from production department and 90 office workers were enrolled in this study. Workers were evaluated with regard to respiratory symptoms using the American Thoracic Society (ATS) questionnaire and examination of their lung function by spirometry. Results: The mean exposure of all studied substances was higher than occupational exposure limits. The most common respiratory symptom in exposed workers was cough (24.5%). A statistically significant post shift reduction in FEV1 and FEF25-75 was seen in exposed group. After adjusting for age, working history, smoking and Body Mass Index (BMI), there was a significant decrease based on exposure in FEV1 and FVC. Conclusion: Dust exposure was a significant predictor of lung function. Implementing the health promotion program, periodic medical surveillance and efficient use of respiratory protection equipment could help to protect foundry workers from respiratory impairment.