Respiratory Symptoms and Pulmonary Function tests among Informal Sector Workers Exposed to Wood Dust in Douala, Cameroon

Francis NDE, Hugo Mbatchou, Jules Nebo, Armel Djomo, Peguy Tsafack and Christophe De Brouwer

Background: Wood sector is the second source of employment in Cameroon after the public sector and the second Cameroon’s export product after oil. Objective: In order to provide data on the extent of respiratory function related to wood, we assess carpenter from informal sector in Douala. Methods: From March to July 2015, we studied two randomly selected groups: the exposed group (carpenters) and the unexposed group in Douala. After a questionnaire, we when through a clinical examination and performed a respiratory test with a manual portable spirometer. Our data were entered and analyzed using SPSS Version 22.0 for Windows. Results: Respectively Carpenters vs unexposed: Smokers: 23.7%vs16.4%, p=NS; Alcohol consumption: 78.4%; vs 73.8%. Prevalence of symptoms: 51% vs26.2%, p<0.001. Lung function impairments: 24.2 %vs16.4%; Increasing age (P=0.007), smoking status, (P=0.013), length of stay in the job greater than or equal to 21 years (P=0.009) were associated to function impairment in univariate analysis. In a logistic regression age was associated to lung function test impairment: [OR=1.037 (CI 1.000 to 1.070) p=0.006)]. Conclusion: Carpenters have higher function impairment that unexposed subjects. Smoking is associated with respiratory symptoms among carpenters. Age of increases their risk of function impairments. Carpenters need to be included in health at work surveillance system.