Pulmonary function analysis in carpenters: a study from Kerala


  • Jagadees R. Pandarikkal Department of Physiology, Jubilee Mission Medical College and Research Institute, Thrissur, Kerala, India
  • Annamma Kurien Department of Physiology, Government Medical College, Kottayam, Kerala, India
  • Davis Paul Department of Pulmonology, Government Medical College, Kottayam, Kerala, India




Carpenters, PFT, Wood dust


Background: There has been an increase in proportion of workers suffering from occupational diseases compared to past. Only limited studies have been conducted to evaluate the pulmonary functions of carpenters, exposed to wood dust. Hence the present study was undertaken to find out any functional impairment in carpenters due to their occupational environment.

Methods: Study was done in 300 subjects who were divided into two groups of 150 each. One group comprised carpenters with minimum 5 years exposure to wood dust. Other group comprised matching healthy subjects who served as controls. Pulmonary function parameters were recorded from all subjects. Parameters recorded were SlowVital Capacity (SVC), Forced Vital Capacity (FVC), Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second (FEV1), and Peak Expiratory flow Rate (PEFR).  ‘Knudson and Collagens’ standard reference values for south Indians were used here for interpretation. Statistical analysis of the data of study subjects and the controls were done by using student’s ‘t’ test. The level of significance was fixed as 5%.

Results: A statistically significant reduction in SVC, FVC, FEV1and PEFR was seen in the study group compared to control group. FEV1/FVC was less than 80% of the predicted values in 8% of the study population. Seventeen percentage of the study population had less than 80% of predicted value of both FEV1 and FVC with normal FEV1/FVC.

Conclusions: Lung functions of carpenters show statistically significant reduction compared to normal healthy adults. This could be due to their exposure to wood dust.

Author Biography

Jagadees R. Pandarikkal, Department of Physiology, Jubilee Mission Medical College and Research Institute, Thrissur, Kerala, India






World Health Organization. International Agency for Research on cancer. IARC monograph on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans. Wood dust and formaldehyde. WHO 1997. Available from: URL: https://monographs.iarc.fr/iarc-monographs-on-the-evaluation-of-carcinogenic-risks-to-humans-59/.

US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service National Toxicology Programme. Final Report on Carcinogens, Background document for wood dust. 2000. Available from: URL: https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/newhomeroc/roc10/wd_no_appendices_508.pdf.

Mandryk J, Alwis KU, Hocking AD. Work-related symptoms and dose-response relationships for personal exposures and pulmonary function among woodworkers. Am J Industrial Med. 1999;35(5):481-90.

Pandey KK. A Study of chemical structure of soft and hard wood and wood polymers by FTIR Spectroscopy. J Applied Polymer Sciences. 1999;71(12):1969-75.

PS G. Effect of duration & severity of exposure on peak expiratory flow rate among workers exposed to wood dust in Central India (Nagpur). Physiology. 2013 Oct;2(10).

Rastogi SK, Gupta BN, Husain T, Mathur N. Respiratory health effect from occupational exposure to wood dust in Sawmills. Am Industrial Hygiene Association J. 1989;50(11):574-8.

Celli BR. Importance of spirometry in COPD and asthma: effect on approach to management. Chest. 200;117(2suppl.):15S-9S.

MSME. Annual Report 2016-2017, MSME, Development corporation, Thrissur. Available at: http://dcmsme.gov.in/ANNUAL_REPORT_2016_17/Annual%20Report%202016%20-17_Thrissur.pdf.

Medical Research Council Committee on the Aetiology of Chronic Bronchitis. Standardized questionnaire on respiratory symptoms. Br Med J. 1960;2:1665.

Weill H. Occupational lung diseases: research approaches and methods. CRC Press; 1981.

Brusasco EV, Crapo R, Viegi G, Wanger J, Clausen JL, Coates A, et al. Series ATS/ERS task force: standardisation of lung function testing. Eur Res J. 2005:319-38.

Harju T, Makinen T, Nayha S, Latikanen T, Jousilaheti P, Hassi J. Cold related respiratory symptoms in general population, Clinical respiratory J. 2010;4(3):176-85.

Ugheoke AJ, Wahab KW, Erhabor GE. Prevalence of respiratory symptoms among sawmill workers in Benin City, Nigeria. Inter J Tropical Med. 2009;4(1):1-3.

Ige OM, Onadeko OB. Respiratory symptoms and ventilatory function of the sawmillers in Ibadan, Nigeria. African J Med Med Sci. 2000;29(2):101-4.

Boskabady MH, Rezaiyan MK, Navabi I, Shafiei S, Arab SS. Work-related respiratory symptoms and pulmonary function tests in northeast iranian (the city of Mashhad) carpenters. Clinics. 2010;65(10):1003-7.

Pramanik P, Chaudhury A. Impact of occupational exposure to wood dust on pulmonary health of carpenters in small scale furniture industries in West Bengal. DHR-IJBLS. 2013;4(3):204-11.

Mahmood NM, Karadaky K, Hussain SA, Ali AK, Mohammad GM, Mahmood OM. Respiratory function among sawmill workers in different areas of Sulaimani city. International J. 2016;5(02):351.

Noertjojo HK, Dimich-Ward H, Peelen S, Dittrick M, Kennedy SM, Chan-Yeung M. Western red cedar dust exposure and lung function: a dose-response relationship. Am J Res Crit Care Med. 1996;154(4):968-73.

Schlünssen V, Schaumburg I, Taudorf E, Mikkelsen AB, Sigsgaard T. Respiratory symptoms and lung function among Danish woodworkers. J Occu Environ Med. 2002;44(1):82-98.




How to Cite

Pandarikkal, J. R., Kurien, A., & Paul, D. (2018). Pulmonary function analysis in carpenters: a study from Kerala. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 6(10), 3418–3422. https://doi.org/10.18203/2320-6012.ijrms20184057



Original Research Articles