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Occupational and Environmental Lung Diseases |

Pulmonary Insult in Benzene Exposure — Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Krishnan Sabhapathy*, MD; Rajesh Venkat, MD
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Krishna Hospital, Kochi, India


Chest. 2012;142(4_MeetingAbstracts):752A. doi:10.1378/chest.1386891
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Abstract

SESSION TYPE: Occupational/ Environmental Lung Disease Posters

PRESENTED ON: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 01:30 PM - 02:30 PM

PURPOSE: Benzene is an agent with suspected carcinogenicity to hematologic tissue. The respiratory effect of chronic exposure to benzene is not well defined, although it can elicit an acute irritant reaction in the respiratory tree. The present study is an attempt to identify pulmonary involvement in workers exposed to benzene in the occupational environment in Kerala a tropical state in South India .

METHODS: The study was carried out in the city of Kochi, . Study population involved benzene handling personnel of Konkan Storage Systems Ltd.which is the storage unit. . Benzene was brought in from cargo ships then offloaded into tanker lorries . Subjects without respiratory symptoms, normal chestxray and spirometry at preplacement examination were included in the study. They were followed up for 3 years. 54 nonsmoking subjects were enrolled. Employees of different categories like plant operators, electricians, plumbers, housekeepers and security staff were chosen . Respiratory symptoms, chestXray and spirometry were monitored at 3 monthly intervals. In those who had an abnormal chest radiograph or PFT, special personal protective equipment or change to another profession were employed. Their repeat evaluation was done after one year.

RESULTS: 37 out of 54 patients had normal evaluation during the study period. 17 subjects had respiratory symptoms of wheezing, chest tightness and dry cough. Spirometric abnormalities were detected in 11 of these symptomatic subjects. Mild to moderate restrictive pattern was seen in 9 subjects and obstruction in 2. After using specialised personal protective equipment or changing of job, the abnormalities remained stable at one year

CONCLUSIONS: Benzene exposure is associated with respiratory symptoms and spirometric abnormalities. Early detection by periodic screening and avoidance of exposure can prevent disease progression.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Based on this study workers employed in benzene involving occupation are at risk of developing respiratory manifestations .hence the need for preplacement and periodic screening is emphasised to detect early disease

DISCLOSURE: The following authors have nothing to disclose: Krishnan Sabhapathy, Rajesh Venkat

No Product/Research Disclosure Information

Krishna Hospital, Kochi, India

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