Journal of Pollution Effects & Control

Journal of Pollution Effects & Control
Open Access

ISSN: 2375-4397

+44 1223 790975


Occupational Exposure to Wood Dust and Respiratory Health Status of Sawmill Workers in South-South Nigeria

Tobin EA, Ediagbonya TF, Okojie OH and Asogun DA

Ill-health from wood dust inhalation results in decreased work output and increased morbidity. Despite the potentially hazardous nature of the work, there has been little attention given to the state of health and safety of the workers in this industry in Nigeria. The study sought to investigate the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and lung function abnormalities from occupational exposure to wood dust among sawmill workers, and assess wood dust concentration in sawmills in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State. A cross-sectional analytical survey involving 227 workers from 17 sawmills recruited through a one stage cluster sampling technique and matched for age and height with 227 workers in water bottling companies in the same locality was carried out. Structured questionnaires and spirometry were used for data collection. Dust monitoring in the both study and comparison sites was carried out with the aid of a gravimetric dust sampler. Data analysis was done using SPSS version 15 and PEPI version 10. Ethical clearance was obtained from the University of Benin Teaching Hospital. Prevalence of respiratory symptoms in the study group was: cough 46.7%, phlegm expectoration 50.2%, wheeze 5.3%, chest tightness 10.1%, chest pain 5.7% and breathlessness 7.5%. Respiratory symptoms were of significantly higher prevalence among the study than the comparison group. Mean value for total and inhalable dust was significantly higher (p = 0.00 and p =0.01 respectively) higher in the study than in the comparison sites. There was no significant difference (p = 0.16) between both sites for mean values of respirable dust. Sawmill workers had a high prevalence of respiratory symptoms particularly cough and phlegm production, and a higher exposure to total suspended and inhalable dust compared to suitably matched respondents. The results have strong implications for improved dust control in the wood industry.