The Influence of Working in Charcoal Factories on Selected Respiratory Parameters in West Bank Palestine

Belal Rahhal's picture
Journal Title, Volume, Page: 
An-Najah University Journal for Research - Natural Sciences 05/2014; 29(29)
Year of Publication: 
Omer abu Zant
Belal Rahhal
Current Affiliation: 
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine
Muhammad Alhanbali
Raya Sinokrout
Preferred Abstract (Original): 

Workers in charcoal factories are reported to develop respiratory problems in Palestine. However, to date, no formal studies have been conducted on the effects this profession may have on respiratory health. This study aims to determine the effects of working in charcoal factories on selected respiratory parameters. Test subjects were first divided into two groups, one of charcoal workers and the other of healthy non-workers, and the working durations of members of the first group were noted. Forced spirometry was used to measure the forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC). These values, alongside the FEV1/FVC ratios and prevalence of restrictive lung disease of the two groups were compared. The results show that there is a significant decrease in the FEV1 (p=0.015) and FVC (p=0.017) values in charcoal workers in comparison to non-workers. While the FEV1/FVC ratio is not significantly affected (p=0.088). The prevalence of restrictive lung pattern is 64.4% among charcoal workers, which is significantly higher than the non-workers group (p=0.017). The severity of restricted lung disease increased with the increase in working duration. We conclude that working in charcoal factories resulted in significant negative changes in the spirometrical readings, and increasing prevalence of restrictive lung disease.