Journal of Environment Pollution and Human Health
ISSN (Print): 2334-3397 ISSN (Online): 2334-3494 Website: Editor-in-chief: Dibyendu Banerjee
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Journal of Environment Pollution and Human Health. 2020, 8(2), 43-48
DOI: 10.12691/jephh-8-2-1
Open AccessArticle

Evaluation of Respiratory Symptoms and Lung Function in Apparently Healthy Wood Dust Exposed Workers in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Datonye Dennis Alasia1, and Pedro Chimezie Emem-Chioma1

1Department of Medicine, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Pub. Date: April 03, 2020

Cite this paper:
Datonye Dennis Alasia and Pedro Chimezie Emem-Chioma. Evaluation of Respiratory Symptoms and Lung Function in Apparently Healthy Wood Dust Exposed Workers in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Journal of Environment Pollution and Human Health. 2020; 8(2):43-48. doi: 10.12691/jephh-8-2-1


Background: The burden of non-communicable respiratory diseases is rising globally, with environmental and occupational pollutants playing a significant role. It is known that workers exposed to wood dust are at risk of respiratory disease and lung function impairment. The objective of this study was to determine the pattern of respiratory symptoms and lung function parameters in sawmill woodworkers in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Methods: A cross-sectional comparative descriptive study of sawmill workers from 3 sites in Port Harcourt, selected by multistage and stratified sampling compared to controls in non-risk occupations was done. Demographic and anthropometric parameters were assessed in addition to respiratory symptoms evaluation and spirometry testing of study subjects. Subjects with a history of smoking, asthma, pneumonia and already established respiratory diseases were excluded from the study. Data were analyzed with SPSS version 23. Results: Respiratory symptoms were significantly more prevalent in the 105 sawmill workers compared to 60 controls, with a significant risk and odds ratio. The most prevalent symptoms in subjects were Catarrh 45.7%, Chest Pain 39.0%, Cough 31.4%, Breathlessness 28.6%, Wheezing 25.7%, Sputum Production 23.8% and Fast Breathing 22.9%. The FEV1 (L) and FEF25-75% (L) were significantly lower in sawmill workers compared to controls with values of 2.70±0.77 vs 3.11±0.44, p=0.000 and 4.18±0.87 vs. 5.87±1.34, p=0.000 respectively. Conclusion: Respiratory symptoms and reduction in FEV1 are common among sawmill workers in Port Harcourt Nigeria. In an environment with significant environmental air pollution from soot, it is important for woodworkers at risk of occupational lung disease in Port Harcourt, to improve personal protective device use while regulatory authorities implement preventive occupational health.

wood dust respiratory disease lung function Nigeria

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