2003 Volume 41 Issue 2 Pages 109-115
One hundred and sixty-nine and 175 cotton textile workers (CTWs) were enrolled in the first (1991) and second (1996) surveys to investigate the prevalence of byssinosis. The synergistic effect of smoking on cotton dust exposure was also evaluated. Although the difference in prevalence of abnormal pulmonary function between the first (38.5%) and second study (38.9%) was not statistically significant, smokers had significantly higher frequency than nonsmokers in both surveys. A significant trend existed between the cotton dust levels and the frequency of abnormal lung function. The significant trend was also noted in both smokers and nonsmokers. The frequency of respiratory symptoms and the prevalence of severe byssinosis in the second survey (14.9% and 12.6%, respectively) were significantly lower than that in the first survey (39.7% and 21.9%, respectively). The reduction of symptoms was due to remodeling of this old cotton mill. The prevalences of respiratory symptoms and byssinosis in smokers being significantly higher than in nonsmokers only found in the first survey, but not found in the second survey. These results indicate that smoking potentiates the effect of cotton dust exposure on respiratory symptoms and byssinosis. The second study reveals high prevalence of byssinosis still existed in Taiwanese cotton mill, although the prevalence was declining. Smoking was found to show an additive effect on cotton dust exposure. Anti-smoking campaign, occupational health program to reduce the dust exposure, and periodical medical examination are measures to prevent from byssinosis.