Donnish Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences

November 2015 Vol. 2(8), pp. 120-124

Copyright © 2015 Donnish Journals

Original Research Paper

A Study of Lung Function Indices of Woodworkers at the Accra Timber Market in Ghana

Isaac E. Ennin1, Festus K. Adzaku2, Daniel Dodoo3, S. Adukpo3, C. Antwi-Boasiako2* and D.A. Antwi2

1Department of physician Assistant Studies. School of Applied Sciences, Central University College, Accra, Ghana.
2Department of Physiology, University of Ghana Medical School, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana.
3Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana.

Corresponding Author's E-mail:

Accepted 6th October, 2015.


Background: Industrial ambient air particulate matter inhaled in the workplace can be hazardous to health. This study was carried out in Ghana at the Accra Timber Market (a cluster of sawmills). The woodworkers are constantly exposed to high amount of visible ambient air particulate matter, but they work without any respiratory protective devices. Aim: The study examined the effect of wood dust on the lung function indices of sawmill workers and the correlation between years of sawmill work and lung function. Study Design: A cross-sectional epidemiological study. Method: A sample of woodworkers was selected by cluster and convenient sampling method from the Accra Timber Market. The control group consisted of staff and students from the College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Korle Bu who had no history of wood dust exposure. Subjects’ lung function tests were performed using a spirometer and responses to a modified version of Medical and Research Council questionnaire were taken. The ambient air particulate matters were measured using a standard air sampler. Result: A total of 104 woodworkers and 104 control subjects were studied. The mean (SE) concentration of particulate matter monitored within the Accra Timber Market was 392.33 (124.02) μg/m3. The VC, FEV1, FEV1%, PEFR and FEF 25-75% were significantly reduced in the wood workers relative to the control group. The reduction of the lung function parameters in the wood workers was associated with increased odds ratios compared to control, as well as increased relative ratios within woodworkers’ group with regard to duration of exposure. There were more wood workers with one or more lung function parameters below normal values than the controls. High proportions of woodworkers showed presence of obstructive (37%) and restrictive (32%) ventilatory defect, against (22%) and (15%) respectively in the controls. The wood porters and machine operators showed high proportions of obstructive ventilatory defect whiles the carpenters showed a high proportion of restrictive ventilatory defects. Conclusion: Significantly high percentage of woodworkers had impaired respiratory function and this may be due to the high ambient air particulate matter and also to long unprotected exposure to wood dust.

Keywords: Woodworkers, Ambient air particulate matter, Respiratory symptoms, Lung function defects.

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Cite This Article:

Isaac E. Ennin, Festus K. Adzaku, Daniel Dodoo, S. Adukpo, C. Antwi-Boasiako and D.A. Antwi. A Study of Lung Function Indices of Woodworkers at the Accra Timber Market in Ghana. Donnish Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences 2(8) 2015 pp. 120-124.

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