Respiratory function of textile workers employed in dyeing cotton and wool fibers

Am J Ind Med. 1997 Mar;31(3):344-52. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0274(199703)31:3<344::aid-ajim11>;2-0.


A group of 135 textile dyeing workers (97 male and 38 female) was studied for the prevalence of acute and chronic respiratory symptoms and lung function changes. Respiratory symptoms were elicited by a standardized questionnaire, and lung function testing was performed before and after the morning shift by recording maximum expiratory flow-volume (MEFV) curves. In addition, 103 nonexposed control workers were studied. The prevalence of all chronic respiratory symptoms was significantly higher in the exposed than in the control workers; in particular, the prevalence of occupational asthma was 6%. The exposed nonsmoking workers had more complaints than the controls who were nonsmokers. As expected, most of the symptoms were more prevalent in smokers than in nonsmokers. Nonsmokers with both long- and short-term work exposure had higher prevalences of dyspnea and rhinitis than control workers. Smokers exposed for 10 years or less had significantly higher prevalences of chronic phlegm than nonsmokers with the same duration of exposure (p < 0.05). In workers exposed for > 10 years, there were significantly higher prevalences of chronic cough, chronic phlegm, and chronic bronchitis in smokers than in nonsmokers (p < 0.01). A high prevalence of shift-related symptoms was found in exposed workers. Significant across-shift reductions of ventilatory capacity tests were documented in this cohort and varied from an average of 4.0% for FVC to 14.2% for FEF25. Preshift values of ventilatory capacity were significantly lower in this exposed population compared to predicted values suggesting a chromic effect. Our data suggest that textile dyeing workers develop acute and chronic respiratory impairment as a result of their exposures. These findings are exacerbated by cigarette smoking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Asthma / chemically induced
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Bronchitis / chemically induced
  • Bronchitis / physiopathology
  • Coloring Agents / adverse effects*
  • Cough / chemically induced
  • Cough / physiopathology
  • Dyspnea / chemically induced
  • Dyspnea / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Gossypium
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced
  • Occupational Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation
  • Respiration Disorders / chemically induced
  • Respiration Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Textile Industry*
  • Vital Capacity
  • Wool


  • Coloring Agents