Objective: To study dust exposure and inflammatory reactions in the respiratory tract among coffee curing workers in Tanzania.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in a Tanzanian coffee curing factory. Coffee workers (n = 15) were compared with unexposed controls (n = 18); all workers were nonsmokers. Exhaled nitric oxide was examined using an electrochemistry-based NIOX MINO device. Personal air samples were analyzed for total dust and endotoxins, using gravimetric analysis and the chromogenic Limulus amebocyte lysate endpoint assay, respectively.
Results: Total dust levels ranged from 0.2 to 27.9 mg/m3, and endotoxin levels ranged from 42 to 75,083 endotoxin units/m3. Concentrations of exhaled nitric oxide, analyzed by linear regression and adjusted for age (β = 0.57; 95% confidence interval, 0.08 to 1.06; P = 0.02), was higher among coffee workers than among the control group.
Conclusion: The results indicate a relationship between the coffee dust and signs of respiratory inflammation.