Respiratory Morbidity among Indian Tea Industry Workers

S Moitra, P Thapa, P Das, J Das, S Debnath, M Singh, A Datta, S Sen, S Moitra


Background: Indian tea industry workers are exposed to various exposures at their workplace.

Objective: To investigate the respiratory health of Indian tea industry workers.

Methods: We administered a respiratory questionnaire to and measured lung function in workers of 34 tea gardens and 46 tea factories. We used correlation matrices to test the association between their respiratory symptoms and lung functions.

Results: The garden workers complained of shortness of breath 3 times higher than the factory workers. However, nasal allergy was more predominant among the factory workers compared to garden workers (69.6% vs 41.2%, p=0.02). The factory workers had higher total (median 107.3% vs 92.9%, p=0.05, as measured by R at 5 Hz) and peripheral airway resistance (143.8% vs 61.1%, p=0.005, as measured by R at 5–20 Hz) than the garden workers. Respiratory symptoms were inversely associated with airway obstruction as measured by the ratio between forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC) and positively correlated with increased overall airway reactance among the workers.

Conclusion: Respiratory symptoms and increased allergen susceptibility of Indian tea industry workers due to occupational exposures warrant routine systematic surveillance of their workplace air quality and health monitoring.


Morbidity; Epidemiology; Occupational exposure; Spirometry; Tea; Industry; Manpower; Impulse oscillometry

doi: 10.15171/ijoem.2016.761

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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