Respiratory Complaints and Spirometric Parameters in Tile and Ceramic Factory Workers


1 Department of Occupational Medicine, AJA University of Medical Sciences

2 Department of Occupational Medicine, Occupational Medicine Research Center, Iran University of Medical Sciences, TEHRAN-IRAN.


Background: Respiratory disorders are among the most common occupational diseases. Tile and ceramic industry is quite popular in Iran and workers in this industry are exposed to harmful dust particles affecting their respiratory system. Materials and Methods: This study was conducted in a tile and ceramic factory. The study group consisted of factory workers of the production units; whereas, the control group included the executive employees of the factory. A questionnaire was designed covering all the required data. There were a total of 411 workers. After considering the exclusion criteria, 243 workers in the study group were compared with 168 controls in terms of their respiratory status. Results: Respiratory complaints were significantly higher in the study group compared to controls (p=0.023). Frequency of abnormal spirometric findings was significantly higher in the study group (p <0.001). A significant correlation was found between the occupational exposure to tile and ceramic dust and abnormal spirometric findings after adjusting for age, duration of employment and smoking habits (p <0.05). Conclusion: Our study results demonstrated that occupational exposure to ceramic and tile dust can harm workers’ respiratory system. Therefore, it is recommended to diminish workers’ exposure to tile dust by proper implementation of respiratory protection programs. Also, filling out the standard respiratory questionnaire and performing the pulmonary function tests are advised for workers in their periodic examination programs. (Tanaffos 2009; 8(4): 19-25)