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OBJECTIVE. This was a cross-sectional study to identify the association of microbial and particulate matter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) with respiratory symptoms and pulmonary function impairment among street sweepers. MATERIALS AND
METHODS. A number of 97 street sweepers at Rajthevee District in Bangkok participated in this research. The samples of particulate matter less than 2.5 microns were collected by attaching a Model 200 Personal Environmental Monitor (PEM™) to the street sweepers’ collar near the breathing zone during their work shift. Microbial air samples were collected by Microfl ow 90 by following the street sweepers twice a day at 06.00-07.00 am and 10.00- 11.00 am. The respiratory symptoms were assessed by questionnaire and the St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire. Pulmonary functions were tested using a spirometer.
RESULTS. There was an association between particulate matter less than 2.5 microns with stuffy nose (p < 0.01) and cough (p < 0.05), fungi at 06.00-07.00 am was associated with wheezing (p < 0.05). However, there was no significant association between bacteria and respiratory symptoms and no signifi cant association between particulate matter less than 2.5 microns or microbial agents with pulmonary function impairment among street sweepers. The mean of serum IgE among 15 sweepers who had wheezing was 277.07 IU/ml (range 12 - 1,088 IU/ml). There was correlation between poor pulmonary function and increased IgE levels.
CONCLUSION. The street sweepers who work in traffi c areas exposed to PM2.5 and fungi were linked to respiratory symptoms and risk to asthma.
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