Background It has been suggested that dust exposure causes airway inflammation among cement factory workers. However, there is limited information on the mechanisms of this effect. We explored any associations between total dust exposure and fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO) as a marker of airway eosinophilic inflammation among cement production workers in Tanzania. We also examined possible differences in FENO concentration between workers in different parts of the production line.
Methodology We examined 127 cement workers and 28 controls from a mineral water factory. An electrochemistry-based NIOX MINO device was used to examine FENO concentration. Personal total dust was collected from the breathing zone of the study participants using 37 mm cellulose acetate filters placed in three-piece plastic cassettes. Interviews on workers’ background information were conducted in the Swahili language.
Results We found equal concentrations of FENO among exposed workers and controls (geometric mean (GM)=16 ppb). The GM for total dust among the exposed workers and controls was 5.0 and 0.6 mg/m3, respectively. The FENO concentrations did not differ between the exposed workers with high (GM≥5 mg/m3) and low (GM<5 mg/m3) total dust exposure. There was no significant difference in FENO concentration between workers in the two main stages of the cement production process.
Conclusions We did not find any difference in FENO concentration between dust-exposed cement workers and controls, and there were similar FENO concentrations among workers in the two main stages of cement production.
- Total dust
- Airway inflammation
- Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide
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