Background: Occupational exposure to dust leads to acute and chronic respiratory diseases, occupational asthma, and depressed lung function. In the light of a lack of comprehensive studies on the exposure of Iranian workers to wood dusts, the objective of this study was to monitor the occupational exposure to wood dust and bioaerosol, and their correlation with the lung function parameters in chipboard manufacturing industry workers.
Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on chipboard workers in Golestan Province; a total of 150 men (100 exposed cases and 50 controls) were assessed. Workers were monitored for inhalable wood dust and lung function parameters, i.e., FVC, FEV1, FEV1/FVC, and FEF25-75%. The workers' exposure to bioaerosols was measured using a bacterial sampler; a total of 68 area samples were collected. The analysis was performed using the Mann-Whitney, Kruskal-Wallis, and regression statistical tests.
Results: The geometric mean value and geometric standard deviation of inhalable wood dust for the exposed and control groups were 19 ± 2.00 mg/m3 and 0.008 ± 0.001 mg/m3, respectively. A statistically significant correlation was observed between the lung parameters and cumulative exposure to inhalable wood dust, whereas a statistically significant correlation was not observed between the lung parameters and bioaerosol exposure. However, the exposure of Iranian workers to bioaerosols was higher, compared to their foreign coworkers.
Conclusion: Considering the high level of exposure among workers in this study along with their lung function results, long-term exposure to wood dust may be detrimental to the workers' health and steps to limit their exposure should be considered seriously.
Keywords: Chipboard; Lung Function; Occupational Exposure; Wood dust.