Assessment of Respiratory Problems among Vendors of Liquefied Petroleum Gas
The study is aimed at identifying which of the respiratory symptoms (wheeze, cough, chest tightness and nasal irritation/sneezing) significantly affect(s) the vendors of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), and appraising the effect of chronic exposure to LPG on pulmonary function (forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), ratio of FEV1 and FVC (FEV1/ FVC), and peak expiratory flow (PEF)) on vendors of LPG in Calabar, Nigeria. It was found that nasal irritation/sneezing and cough were significantly associated with the LPG vendors. the pulmonary function indices except FEV1/ FVC showed significant reduction among LPG vendors. A case control design in which vendors and non-vendors of LPG were used for the study. The sizes of cylinders refilled ranged from 4kg to 50kg. The amount sold per participant each day was obtained from their record books over the period of two weeks. The average of this was 755kg and was taken to indirectly represent the daily LPG exposure since we were not able to directly determine the amount of LPG escaping into the ambient air. A total of 150 subjects were recruited which consist of seventy five (75) apparently healthy LPG (cooking gas) vendors and seventy five (75) apparently healthy non gas vendors /users (control). The inclusion criteria for the exposed group were: residence in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria; age ranging from 18 to 50 years, having at least one year exposure to LPG and selling for at least 6 hours daily, and devoid of respiratory diseases history before commencing the trade. The inclusion criteria for the control were: residence in Calabar, age ranging from 18 to 50 years, apparently healthy, no work-related exposure to LPG and devoid of history of hospitalization due to respiratory diseases. The purpose and nature of the research was explained to the participants and written consent was obtained.