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Respiratory Symptoms, Exhaled Nitric Oxide, and Lung Function Among Workers in Tanzanian Coffee Factories

Sakwari, Gloria MSc; Mamuya, Simon H.D. PhD; Bråtveit, Magne PhD; Moen, Bente E. MD, PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 5 - p 544–551
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318285f453
Original Articles

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.

From the Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care and Centre for International Health (Drs Bråtveit and Moen and Ms Sakwari), University of Bergen, Bergen, Hordaland, Norway; and School of Public Health and Social Sciences (Dr Mamuya and Ms Sakwari), Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Address correspondence to: Gloria Sakwari, MSc, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, Kalfarveien 31, 5018 Bergen, Hordaland, Norway (

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

Disclosure: The authors have no conflict of interest.

©2013The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine