Objective: To compare chronic respiratory symptoms, fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FENO), and lung function between Robusta and Arabica coffee workers and a control group.
Methods: Chronic respiratory symptoms were assessed by a questionnaire (n = 138 coffee workers and n = 120 controls). The FENO was measured by NIOX MINO device (Aerocrine AB, Solna, Sweden). Lung function was examined by a portable spirometer.
Results: Coffee workers had higher prevalence of chronic respiratory and asthma symptoms than controls. Robusta coffee workers were exposed to higher levels of endotoxin and had more asthma symptoms than Arabica coffee workers (38% vs 18%). Coffee workers had reduced lung function associated with cumulative exposure to total dust and endotoxin.
Conclusion: Work in coffee factories is associated with small but significant lung function impairment. These changes were not associated with the level of FENO.