Respiratory Health Following Long Term Occupational Exposure to Fiberglass Dust


M Neghab 1 , A Alipour 2 , *

1 Department of Occupational Health, School of Health and Nutrition, Health Sciences Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Fars, Iran

2 Department of Epidemiology, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, [email protected], Fars, Iran

How to Cite: Neghab M, Alipour A. Respiratory Health Following Long Term Occupational Exposure to Fiberglass Dust, Iran Red Crescent Med J. Online ahead of Print ; 12(2):145-150.


Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal: 12 (2); 145-150
Article Type: Research Article
Received: January 10, 2009
Accepted: May 17, 2009




Background: Despite the wide application of fiberglass, its respiratory effects have not been extensively studied. The purpose of this study was to further examine this issue among a group of workers occupationally exposed to this compound.


Methods: This is a historical-cohort study in which the respiratory health of 49 workers exposed to fiberglass as well as 42 unexposed employees as the referent group from a local fiberglass industry was evaluated. A standardized respiratory questionnaire was used. The subjects underwent chest x-ray and were examined by a physician for any possible respiratory abnormalities. Furthermore, pulmonary function tests were performed just before the work shift. Moreover, to assess the extent to which subjects had been exposed to fiberglass dust, respirable dust concentrations were measured in different dusty work sites, using standard methods.


Results: The average age of the exposed subjects and the duration of exposure were 39.6±7.34 and 11.2±5.59 years, respectively. Atmospheric concentrations of respirable fraction of fiberglass dust in dusty work sites, namely Line and Tissue units, were found to be 44.5 and 6.27 mg/m3, respectively. The prevalence of respiratory symptoms and abnormalities in the chest x-ray of the exposed and unexposed subjects was not significantly different. Lung function parameters, i.e., vital capacity (VC), forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), and percentage ratio of FEV1 to FVC in the exposed workers were comparable with those of the control subjects. Significant associations between the length of exposure to fiberglass and age with FEV1/FVC ratio were noted.


Conclusion: The results support that exposure to fiberglass dust is unlikely to be associated with respiratory symptoms, abnormal radiographic changes or functional impairments of the lungs.


Fiberglass Respiratory symptoms Pulmonary function test Occupational exposure Chest x- ray

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