Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2008;34(5):396-402    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.1275

Prevalence and characteristics of functional dyspepsia among workers exposed to cement dust

by Coppeta L, Pietroiusti A, Magrini A, Somma G, Bergamaschi A

Objectives No data are currently available on the prevalence and characteristics of functional dyspepsia among cement workers. Given the potential impact of dyspepsia on work performance, whether its prevalence is increased among workers exposed to cement dust was evaluated.

Methods Altogether 420 cement workers were enrolled in the study. According to the individual exposure levels to cement dust, the following three groups were established: no exposure (128 workers), low exposure (1 mg/m3, 176 workers). Dyspepsia was evaluated by means of validated questionnaires.

Results The prevalence of dyspepsia was increased in both the low and high exposure groups in comparison with the unexposed workers (51.7% and 59.1%, respectively, versus 34.4%; adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.21, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.25–3.92, and aOR 2.36, 95% CI 1.31–4.25, respectively). A stepwise regression analysis showed a progressive increase in the odds ratio for dyspepsia for the low- and high-exposure groups with the no-exposure group as reference (OR 1.94, 95% CI 1.15–3.27, and OR 2.61, 95% CI 1.62–4.20, respectively). Ulcer-like dyspepsia was especially associated with the degree of exposure to cement dust, 11.71% for the no-exposure group versus 17.24% for the low-exposure group versus 29.54% for the high-exposure group (aOR 3.49, 95% CI 1.60–7.63), when the high-exposure group was compared with the no-exposure group. Similar findings were obtained for reflux-like dyspepsia.

Conclusions Occupational cement-dust exposure is associated with dyspepsia, and the association is particularly strong for ulcer-like and reflux-like dyspepsia.