Find out whether workplace exposures to coal mine dust contribute to the development of allergic diseases and if atopy in miners is more frequent than in general population. Atopy is an important risk factor for asthma. Latest epidemiological studies in Czech Republic estimate, that prevalence of allergic diseases in Czech population is 24 %, the prevalence of asthma 5 % and atopy 40-50 %.
In the cross-sectional study (2004/2005) we studied the frequency distribution of airway diseases(spirometry including non-specific bronchoprovocation test, if indicated, examination by physician), allergic disease in personal history (mucosal and cutaneous) and atopy (presence of specific IgE to common inhalation allergens in blood by Phadiatop) in 548 coal miners (mean age 49) and 315 subjects of control group (mean age 43). Controls where recruited from men, who have never been exposed to dust in their occupational environment. Subjects where divided into cohorts according to age and lengh of exposure; statistical analysis was by x-square testing using contingency tables.
Atopy and allergic diseases after mean exposure to coal dust lasting 3 years, 14 years, and 29 years was 38 % and 22 %; 31 % and 26 %, and 17 % and 19 %, respectively. Atopy and allergic diseases in miners age 27-31 years, 32-40 years, and 54-65 years was 37 % and 25 %; 30 % and 23 %, and 22 % and 20 %, respectively. Controls ind the same age group had atopy and allergic diseases in 48 % and 51 %; 37 % and 40 %, and 22 % and 19 %, respectively. Statistical analysis has shown, no influence of either coal-mine dust or of smoking status on the prevalence of atopy, rhinitis and asthma. Prevalence of chronic bronchitis and COPD increased with age and exposure to coal-dust.
Coal mining does not seem to represent a risk factor of atopy and respiratory allergic disorders.
In occupational medical care atopy in miners should not represent contra-indication for mining occupation.
Zdenka Hajduková, None.