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Evaluation of respiratory toxicity of fiberglass dust

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Author(s): M. Neghab | A. Alipour

Journal: Iran Occupational Health
ISSN 1735-5133

Volume: 6;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 19;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: fiberglass | respiratory symptoms | pulmonary function tests | occupational exposure | chest x- ray

ABSTRACT
  Background and aims   Fiberglass is extensively used in the manufacture of textiles, as a fortifying substance in plastic industry and in the production of sound proof and thermal insulators. However, despite its wide application, the nature of its respiratory effects, if any, is a controversial  issue and has not been thoroughly investigated. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to assess the possible pulmonary reactions associated with this compound.   Methods   Forty nine fiberglass workers and 42 unexposed employees as the referent group from  a local fiberglass industry were studied. Standardized respiratory questionnaires were administered to them; they underwent chest x-ray and the parameters of their pulmonary function were measured. Moreover, respirable dust concentrations were measured in different dusty worksites.   Results   The average (mean±SD) age of exposed individuals and length of exposure to fiberglass were 39.6±7.34 and 11.2±5.59 years, respectively. Atmospheric concentrations of  respirable fraction of fiberglass dust in the Line and Tissue units were found to be 44.5 and 6.27 mg/m 3 , respectively. Prevalence of respiratory symptoms and abnormalities in chest x-rays of exposed and unexposed subjects and the results of their lung function parameters were not  significantly different (P>0.05). However,significant associations between length of exposure to fiberglass and age with FEV 1 /FVC ratio (P
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