Authors: Ravichandran B, Dhananjayan V, Mala A, Somnath S, Raghavan S
The present study aimed to assess the airborne contaminants and related health hazards among workers involved in activities associated with sheep breeding and wool shearing. The environmental monitoring was done in the breathing zone of workers with personal air sampling method. A total of 487 persons were interviewed for respiratory symptoms. Data were evaluated based on sex, age, sickness, work nature and experience. The average total suspended particulate matter (TSPM) in sheep shearing activity was 269.8 μg/m3.
The respirable particulate matter (RSPM) observed in persons with sheep shearing and cleaning activity was 236.6 μg/m3 and 148 μg/m3, respectively. It was observed that the persons in sheep shearing activity were exposed to higher concentration of dust compared to cleaning activities. Medical examination showed that the sheep breeders were found to be at a significantly higher level of respiratory symptoms and had higher risk of respiratory morbidity. In general, the workers involved in sheep-related occupation have significantly higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms and acute occupational symptoms compared to non-sheep related occupations. Acute respiratory symptoms during work hours are also higher in sheep breeders, indicating the relation of the morbidity to the occupation.