The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

PULMONARY FUNCTION TEST AND WORK-RELATED RESPIRATORY SYMPTOMS IN HAIRDRESSERS

Nastran Hashemi1, Mohamad H. Boskabadi2



Background: Hairdressers are exposed to various irritating chemicals during work which can induce respiratory problems

Objective:
Pulmonary function tests and self-reported respiratory symptoms in hair dressers were compare with matched subjects for age and gender in this study.

Methods:
The frequency of respiratory symptoms was retrospectively estimated in a sample of 50 female hairdressers using a questionnaire included questions on work-related respiratory symptoms in the past year, allergy, type of irritant chemicals that induce respiratory symptoms, smoking habits and working periods as a hairdresser. Pulmonary function tests were also measured in all participants and an age and smoking habits matched sample of women from the general population as control groups.

Results:
A total of 25 (49%) of participants reported work-related respiratory symptoms. Cough (33%) and breathless (29%) were the most common symptoms and only 4% of hairdressers reported wheezing during work. Hairdressers pronounced bleaching powder (23%) and hair spray (8%) as the most irritant chemicals which provoke their respiratory symptoms. Forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) was less than 80% in 27.5% of hairdressers and was significantly lower than control group (p<0.001). In addition, the mean of FVC, FEV1 and PEF (peak expiratory flow) was significantly lower in hairdressers compared to controls (p<0.05 for both cases).

Conclusion:
Hairdressing work was associated with a high frequency of work related respiratory symptoms particularly after exposure to bleaching powder and hair spray. PFT values were also significantly reduced among hairdressers.