A longitudinal study on lung disease in dental technicians: What has changed after seven years?
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The aim of this 7-year follow-up study was to determine respiratory changes in dental technicians. In our region, in the year 2005, 36 dental technicians were evaluated with a cross-sectional study on respiratory occupational diseases, and in 2012 we evaluated them again. Inclusion of information on respiratory symptoms and demographic features questionnaires was applied. Pulmonary function tests (PFT) were performed. Chest X-rays (CXR) were evaluated according to the ILO-2000 classification. For the comparisons of the technicians' findings in 2005 and 2012, data analyses were performed with the Wilcoxon test in addition to descriptive statistical procedures. In 2012, 19 out of the 36 technicians continued to work in the same place, so we were able to evaluate their findings. The prevalence of respiratory symptoms in dental technician was as follows: dyspnea 7 (37%), cough 6 (32%), and phlegm 5 (26%). According to ILO classifications in 2005, among the 36 technicians, 5 (13.8%) had pneumoconiosis. At the end of 7 years, there were 9 pneumoconiosis cases among the 19 remaining technicians (47%). Thus, there was a statistically significant progression on the profusion of the radiologic findings (p < 0.005). Also there was a significant worsening on spirometric findings (p < 0.05). In dental technicians, a determination of both radiologic and functional progressions at the end of 7 years demonstrate that the primary and secondary preventive measures are necessary for these workplaces. Workplaces must be regularly controlled for worker health and hygiene.