Asian Journal of Microbiology, Biotechnology & Environmental Sciences Paper

Vol 17, Issue 3, 2015; Page No.(497-503)

THE RESPIRATORY HEALTH OF THE WORKERS OF PLYWOOD AND SLATE PENCIL INDUSTRIES IN SOUTH SUMATRA, INDONESIA

C. ZAMAN, T.M. ALAKA, R. TAQWA, H. DAHLAN AND FATMAWATI

Abstract

The objective of this study was to prove the relationship between the exposure to wood dust and respiratory health problems in the form of pulmonary function impairment and symptoms of respiratory disease in the workers of Plywood and Slate Pencil industries in the province of South Sumatra, Indonesia. The site of the study is PT. W, a manufacturer of Plywood, which is located in Indralaya, South Sumatra; and PT. X, a manufacturer of Slate Pencil, which is located in Musi Rawas, South Sumatra. The total number of workers being studied in this study is 180 people, 90 employees are taken from each the two companies. The measurement of the inhalable dust is performed by using gravimetric techniques through personal and a real sampling. The variables of the study consist of the demographic characteristics of the workers such as age, gender, height, length of employment, smoking habit, and spirometry values in the three parameters of FVC, FEV1, and FEV1/FVC. In addition to those, there are also the variables of respiratory disease symptoms such as cough and phlegm. If a subject has an indication of experiencing spirometric abnormalities, then a Skin Prick Test is performed. The determination of spirometric abnormalities is based on the nomogram of Indonesia. It was found in this study that PT W. used wood of rubber trees (Havea braziliensis) as raw material, while PT X. used wood of Pulai trees (Astonia Scolaris) as raw material. The measurable levels of wood dust are between 0,002 to 3,650 mg/m3. The spirometric abnormalities in the workers for the parameter of FVC were 7.3%, and that of FEV1 was 6.2%, and that of FEV1/FVC was 18.1%. The frequency of the workers who experienced cough was 7.3%, and the frequency of those who complained about sputum production was 8.5%. The values of spirometry of FVC, FEV1 and FEV1 / FVC were significantly different by sex and company. Spiro metric abnormalities towards the parameters of FVC, FEV1, FEV1 / FVC, were associated with levels of dust, duration of work, gender, smoking habits and the company. The frequency of respiratory symptoms such as cough and sputum was associated with levels of dust and work duration. Further analysis showed that the duration of work and the levels of dust became good predictors of spirometric abnormalities and symptoms of respiratory diseases. The exposure to wood dust of Pulai trees (Astonia scolaris) causes higher frequency of the respiratory health problems and allergic reactions than that of the wood dust of the Rubber trees (Havea braziliensis). It was concluded that the exposure to wood dust could be associated with the respiratory health problems of the workers. The wood of Pulai tree causes a higher risk of allergic-based respiratory health problems.

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