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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 170-176

A comparative study of byssinosis in jute industries

Regional Occupational Health Centre (Eastern), Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Asim Saha
Regional Occupational Health Centre (Eastern), Block – DP, Sector – V, Salt Lake, Kolkata - 700 091, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijoem.IJOEM_117_18

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Background: Byssinosis is an acute respiratory difficulty that is caused usually following exposure to cotton and hemp dust. Occurrence of such similar acute symptoms had been reported following exposure to jute dust/fiber also. With passage of time, Jute industries have modernized themselves for increased quality and productivity, which has lessened workforce and thereby provided more working space. However, occupational health benefit due to such changes has rarely been explored. This study was initiated to understand whether this modernization can protect the health of workers. Methodology: This study was carried out in two jute mills manufacturing jute clothes, jute bags, and so on. Interview of the workers for their occupational and morbidity details, medical examinations, as well as pre-shift and post-shift pulmonary function tests was carried out. Results: It was observed that chest tightness was significantly more in the industry with old technologies. Breathlessness was also more in this industry. As far as pulmonary function status is concerned, it was noted that greater than 5% cross-shift change in forced expiratory volume in one second was more common in the industry with old technology. Obstructive feature on lung function test was also observed in workers of both industries. Conclusion: The study concluded that exposure to jute dust has contributed to both acute and chronic respiratory health effects in the jute industry workers. Modernized industry showed lesser prevalence of acute symptoms and changes related to byssinosis. Modernization of processes in jute industries may prove fruitful in lowering the respiratory problems of workers.


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