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Original Research Articles

Respiratory health status of ceramic workers


P. Latith R. Liyanage ,

RDHS Office, Colombo, LK
About P. Latith
Medical officer, Maternal and Child Health
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W. Ranjit De Alwis

Ministry of Labour, LK
About W. Ranjit
Deputy Commissioner of Labour (Occupational Health)
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To assess the respiratory health status in ceramic workers.



Sixty nine workers with continuous employment in eight sections of a ceramic factory and a marched control group of workers not exposed to dust at work were studied using an interviewer administered questionnaire on respiratory symptoms. Clinical and radiological examinations and assessments of ventilatory functions and dust levels were also performed.



The mean age of the male and female workers was 40.3 and 45.1 years respectively. Prevalence of acute respiratory symptoms was significantly higher in the study group than in the controls. Chronic, bronchitis was not seen. Though the prevalence of all chronic respiratory symptoms - chronic cough, chronic phlegm, dyspnoea and asthma were higher among the ceramic workers than the controls, only dyspnoea grade 3 was significantly higher in the ceramic workers.


Mean Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) of the male workers 2.90L)) was significantly lower than in the controls (3.17 L). The dust measurement revealed levels higher than the threshold limit value for free silica.



Ceramic workers are at a higher risk of developing respiratory problems with an associated decline in ventilatory capacity.
How to Cite: R. Liyanage, P.L. and De Alwis, W.R., 1996. Respiratory health status of ceramic workers. Journal of the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka, 1(1), pp.25–29. DOI:
Published on 31 Dec 1996.
Peer Reviewed


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