Lung Function Indices among Marble Workers with Age Matched Healthy Individuals in Lahore
Background: Marble dust predominantly comprises of free silica which is a principal constituent of Earth’s crust. Production of toxic substances, chemicals, and respirable dust in marble industry offers an occupational threat to the workers. Free silica dust is generated during quarrying, grinding cutting and polishing of marble and is responsible for occupational pulmonary diseases. Objective: This study was conducted to compare pulmonary function test results among the workers of marble industry and healthy persons of same age in district, Lahore. Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Settings: Study was conducted in marble workshops workers, located in Township area College Road, Institute of Public Health, Lahore Pakistan. Duration: Six months from 05 May 2021 to 04 August 2021. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 225 individuals. Forty-five male persons, each were selected from cutting, grinding and polishing sections along with office workers from the marble workshop. Forty-five age matched healthy individuals selected from the same community. After getting approval from the Institutional Review board, the data was collected in a pretested standardized questionnaire after taking informed written consent by the respondents. Lung function tests were conducted by a Spiro Lab Spirometer which included forced vital capacity, forced expiratory volume in one second and ratio of forced expiratory volume to forced vital capacity. Results: The mean years of work experience of respondents was 11.58 ±5.92 and that of non-exposed healthy individuals was 11.23±5.32 years. A significant relationship of marble dust and deranged pulmonary function tests (p-value≤0.001) was noted which was normal in case of non-exposed individuals. Duration of work in marble industry and age in years had significant relationship with reduction in pulmonary function tests (p- value<0.001 in each). About 83 (46%) marble workers working in different sections had reported abnormal spirometry as compared to non-exposed individuals (p-value<0.001). Conclusion: According to the current study, individuals who had worked in the marble industry for more than 15 years had a steady reduction in their lung function indices, which ultimately had a detrimental effect on their health and when compared to healthy individuals of the same community, marble workers' pulmonary function tests showed significant impairments.