Lung Disorders of Workers Exposed to Rush Smear Dust in China
The aim of this study was to evaluate the lung disorders of the workers exposed to rush smear dust. A cross sectional study was carried out on 1,709 current workers (788 male, 921 female) in 80 factories. All subjects were asked by questionnaire, and health examination including chest Xray was conducted for 661 workers in 35 factories. Lung function test was also examined for 119 non-smoking males among 661 subjects. Dust samplings were collected and total and respirable dust concentrations at
... 27 spots in 35 factories were measured. The geometric mean dust concentration in the workshops was up to 20.00 mg/m 3 , and the geometric mean respirable dust concentration reached 8.22 mg/m 3 . The mean quartz concentration of accumulated dust was 29.2%. The prevalence of radiographic small opacities profusion category > or = 1/0, according to the ILO 1980 Classification System, was 2.6% among 661 employees. One worker was found to have pneumoconiotic findings of 2/2 profusion accompanied with large opacity. The prevalence of pneumoconiosis (1/0 or more) correlated with cumulative dust exposure (r=0.192, p<0.0001). The similar relationship was found between the prevalence rate of cough or sputa and worksite dust concentration. In non-smokers, a positive association was found between the prevalence of cough and occupational exposure duration (r=0.080, p=0.004). Approximately 19.3% and 34.5% of employees suffered from respiratory impairment for FVC and FEV1.0, respectively. This is the first report of "rush" pneumoconiosis in China. Rush mat workers were found to be at high risk for pneumoconiosis, a preventable disease. Our results showed a dose-response relationship between rush-mat dust level and the prevalence of pneumoconiosis. Similar relationship between the prevalence of cough and sputum and the work duration was found for non-smoking workers but not for smoking workers.