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The Impact of Reduced Dust Exposure on Respiratory Health Among Cement Workers: An Ecological Study

Tungu, Alexander Mtemi MD; Bråtveit, Magne PhD; Mamuya, Simon H. PhD; Moen, Bente E. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: January 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 1 - p 101–110
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000057
Original Articles

Objectives: To compare total dust exposure, prevalence of chronic respiratory symptoms, lung function, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among Tanzanian cement workers before (2002) and after (2010–2011) establishment of dust-control measures.

Methods: Personal total dust-exposure measurements, questionnaire assessment for chronic respiratory symptoms, and spirometry were conducted in both examination periods.

Results: Total dust exposure was lower in 2010–2011 than in 2002. The prevalence of most chronic respiratory symptoms and COPD was lower in 2010 than in 2002. Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), percentage predicted FEV1, and percentage predicted forced vital capacity were higher among cement workers in 2010 than in 2002.

Conclusions: There was reduced total dust exposure level, lower prevalence of chronic respiratory symptoms and COPD, and higher lung function among cement workers in 2010 than in 2002.

From the Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care (Drs Tungu, Bråtveit, and Moen), Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; Department of Environmental and Occupational Health (Dr Mamuya), School of Public Health and Social Sciences, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and Department of Occupational Medicine (Dr Moen), Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.

Address correspondence to: Alexander Mtemi Tungu, MD, Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Kalfarveien 31, N-5018, Bergen, Norway (

A.M.T. planned the study, collected and analyzed data, and revised the manuscript after consultation with the other authors. M.B., S.H.M., and B.E.M. participated in planning, collection, and analysis of data, provided scientific support throughout the study, and reviewed and commented on the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript for publication.

No conflicts of interest were declared.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine