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Respiratory Inflammation Among Workers Exposed to Airborne Dust With Endotoxins in a Coffee Curing Factory

Moen, Bente E. MD, PhD; Sakwari, Gloria MSc; Mamuya, Simon H. D. PhD; Kayumba, Akwilina V. MD, PhD; Larsson, Lennart PhD; Pehrson, Christina MSc; Mashalla, Yohana J. MD, PhD; Bråtveit, Magne PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: July 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 7 - p 847–850
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318250ca24
Original Articles

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.

From the Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care and Centre for International Health (Drs Moen and Bråtveit and Ms Sakwari), University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; The School of Public Health and Social Sciences (Dr Mamuya and Ms Sakwari), Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, and Tanzania Occupational Health Services (Dr Kayumba), Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania; Department of Laboratory Medicine (Dr Larsson and Ms Pehrson), Section of Medical Microbiology, University of Lund, Lund, Sweden; and School of Medicine (Dr Mashalla), University of Botswana, Gabarone, Botswana.

Address correspondence to: Bente E. Moen, MD, PhD, Department of Public Health and Primary Heath Care, University of Bergen, Kalfarveien 31, NO-5018 Bergen, Norway (

This study was funded by The Norwegian Programme for Development, Research and Education (NUFU).

None of the authors had any conflict of interest related to the manuscript.

©2012The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine