Assessment of Respiratory Symptoms and Lung Function among Workers Exposed to Cotton Dust at Arba Minch Textile Factory, Arba Minch, Southern Ethiopia, 2017

Tesfaye Kanko, Getahun Shibru, Feleke G/meskel, Eyayu Girma, Belay Boda, Behailu Tsegaye


Background: Textile industry is considered as a number one priority sector by the Ethiopian governments industrial development strategy. In many of the textile industries, workers are largely exposed to cotton dust, which can leave workers with respiratory disorders. So, studies on cotton dust effects have been highly useful in understanding the risks of working in textile mills and lung function impairment in the textile factory workers. This is important to minimize the occurrence of highly rising occupational respiratory problems in peoples working in textile mills. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and lung function test impairment among workers exposed to cotton dust at Arba Minch textile factory, Southern Ethiopia.

Materials and Methods: A comparative cross sectional study was done, 51 workers exposed to cotton dust in the factory and 51age and sex matched controls were investigated. Their lung function was measured with a pocket size digital Spirometer (Spiro-Pro JAEGER). A standardized questionnaire based on British Medical Research Council Questionnaire was used to assess respiratory system symptoms and use of personal protective devices.

Results: The study revealed that the percentage prevalence of cough, phlegm, wheeze, breathlessness and chest tightness was 64.7%, 55%, 39%, 41% and 43% for exposed respondents, respectively and 25.5%, 14%, 8%, 6% and 0% for control subjects, respectively. Lung function indices such as, forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) & Forced mid Expiratory Flow between 25% and 75% of FVC (FEF25-75%) were higher in control respondents than in exposed respondents and the mean difference was found to be statistically significant (p<0.05) and the mean difference of predicted percentage values of FVC and FEV1 between the groups were found statistically significant (P<0.05). FEV1 to FVC ratio x 100 (FEV1%) was higher in control group than in exposed group, but the mean difference was insignificant (p>0.05).

Conclusion and recommendation: Respiratory symptoms and lung function impairments were high among exposed workers in the factory. Therefore, the factory management should provide Personal Protective Devices (PPDs) to exposed employees and should train them how to use it properly.


Cotton dust; Lung functions; Respiratory symptoms; Textile.

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