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Matheson et al., in their article had shown that the occupational
exposure to biological dust was more associated with increased risk of
respiratory symptoms and COPD than the mineral dust and gas fumes. We
suppose that the subjects who had shown both mineral dust or gas and
biological dust exposure together in their occupational history could have
confounded these results.
The statement that...
The statement that biological dust is more prone
to cause COPD and respiratory symptoms as compared to the mineral dust and
gas fumes, would have been more conclusive if the author had compared
subjects exposed purely to the biological fumes with the subjects purely
to the mineral dust or gas fumes.
Secondly the author had shown that women
are more prone to develop COPD on cumulative exposure of biological dust
in form of 1-12 years and >12 years, as compared to males. The author
had not shown the distribution of male and female gender in perspective of
both years of exposure and, high and low exposures. We suppose higher
number of females with high and longer duration of exposure than the
males, must have attributed to these results. Moreover predominance of
female COPDs could have been attributed to passive smoking.
McGhee et al.
had shown that passive smokers were 37% more likely to visit doctors for
respiratory symptoms than the non-passive smokers. Svanes et al. had also
shown that intrauterine and environmental exposure to parental smoking was
related to more respiratory symptoms and poorer lung functions in
adulthood. Lastly factors like poor living conditions could have
attributed to increase in COPD prevalence in subjects exposed to
biological dust. Recently Kim et al. in Korean population had shown low
income to be independent predictor with odds ratio of 2.13 for COPD.
1. S M McGhee, AJ Hedley and LM Ho; Passive smoking and its imoact on
employers and employees in Hong Kong: Occup. Environ. Med. 2002; 59; 842-
2. C Svanes, E Omennas, D Jarvis S Chinn, A Gulsvik, P Burney;
Parental Smoking in childhood and adult obstructive lung disease: results
from European Community Respiratory Health Survey; Thorax 2004: 295-302.
3. Dong Soon Kim, Young Sam Kim et al: Prevalence of Obstructive
Pulmonary Disease in Korea: A population based Spirometry Survey: Am J
Respir Crit Care Med. 2005 Jun 23.