Evaluation of Asbestos-Related Pulmonary Diseases in Lining Workers and Makers of Isfahan


1 Department of Internal Medicine,

2 Department of Radiology, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences and Health Services, ISFAHANIRAN

3 Department of Internal Medicine


Background: Lining is made up of different materials, the most important and dangerous one being Asbestos. With the increasing knowledge and awareness of lining workers (men who repair brake linings) in regard to asbestos and its associated dangers, this concept is induced in their mind that they might be affected by asbestos-related lung diseases. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of asbestos-related pulmonary diseases among the lining workers and lining makers of Isfahan. Materials and Methods: In a cross-sectional study, 47 workers (18 from Gort lining factory, and 29 from lining workshops of Isfahan) were evaluated. They underwent history taking, clinical examination, chest x-ray (CXR), spirometry, CT-scan (HRCT), bronchoscopy, and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) examinations. Since there were no reports measuring the number of asbestos fibers in the air of the working places (factory and workshops), the mean number of asbestos fibers in these areas was calculated. Result: A total of 47 male workers were studied. The age range was 35-75 years, mean ± SD=47.96±10.33, and 95% CI=45.01, 50.91. Also, they had an occupational history of 20-69 years, mean ± SD=29.57±8, and 95% CI=27.28, 31.86. The frequency of asbestos related pulmonary diseases (pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary plaque, peribronchial thickening) was 21.28% (17.03% among smokers) with relative frequencies of smoking 64%, cough 31.92%, sputum 48.94%, dyspnea 72.34%, and wheezing 19.15%. The frequencies of abnormal CXR, spirometry, and HRCT were 27.6%, 23.5% and 19.2% respectively. The number of asbestos fibers in the air of the working place was mean±SD=0.36±0.1 fbr/cc (p value<0.05, t=3.26). Conclusion: Exposure to asbestos without considering the safety measures and principles of occupational health and security results in a number of asbestos-related lung diseases among the lining workers and lining makers. It is notable that smoking augmentates the harmful effects of asbestos: the fact which has been confirmed by clinical and para-clinical examinations of this research. Due to short mean duration of occupational history, asbestos-related malignant pulmonary disease was not detected. As a conclusion, in addition to abstaining from smoking, obeying the health-security measures present at work and finding a suitable replacement for asbestosis in lining industries as well as follow-up and regular screening of the workers are also recommended. (Tanaffos 2003; 2(8): 13-22)