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Clinical evaluation of pulmonary functions among the non-smoking municipal street cleaners and healthy volunteers

Sudha D, Suvalakshmi V, Kannan N.


Background: In developed countries, street cleaning is done with the help of mechanical assets and precautionary measures. Hence, it has been found to have a lesser incidence of respiratory diseases. However, in developing countries like India, 90% of street cleaning is done manually. The prolonged inhalations of foreign particles stimulate inflammatory reactions which lead to obstructive pulmonary diseases. Hence, it could be considered as one of the major occupational hazards in India.

Aims and Objectives: The objectives of the study were to measure the values of functional vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), FEV1/FVC, forced expiratory flow (FEF) 25–75%, and peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) in municipal street cleaners and healthy volunteers and compare the clinical evaluation of respiratory functions of both the groups using the appropriate statistical tool.

Materials and Methods: In this study, 100 subjects were taken and they are divided into two groups: 50 individuals of street cleaners and 50 healthy volunteers. Clinical examination of the respiratory system of municipal street cleaners and healthy volunteers of the same locality and measures the values of FVC, FEV1, FEV1/FVC, FEF 25–75%, and PEFR in both the groups. Statistical analyses were done using the unpaired t-test.

Results: The results of the pulmonary function test (FVC, FEV1, FEV1/FVC, FEF 25–75%, and PEFR) showed that the values were significantly reduced in street cleaners when compared with the healthy volunteers. The values were statistically significant.

Conclusion: Constant exposure to the dust and other hazardous inhaling substances causes permanent damage to the lung tissue. The street cleaners should have proper protection while they work, which will reduce the damage to the lungs.

Key words: Street Cleaners; Pulmonary Function Test; Non-smokers

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