Background: The growing textile industry in Ethiopia has had a profound impact on employment opportunities in the country. Exposure to cotton dust is well recognized to cause respiratory illnesses among workers. However, exposure assessments of textile workers are rarely conducted in Ethiopia. This study aimed at measuring personal exposure to total cotton dust among textile factory workers and to explore the variability of dust exposure in different factory work sections.
Materials and methods: Workers from 11 work sections of a textile factory participated in a personal sampling of dust. One hundred full-shift personal air samples were taken in the breathing zone of workers using 37mm close-faced plastic cassettes fitted with mixed cellulose acetate (MCA) filters connected to Casella pumps at an airflow rate of 2 liters/min. The concentration of total cotton dust was analyzed gravimetrically.
Results: Personal total dust exposure (geometric mean; geometric standard deviation) were higher in the cleaning department (1.84; 2.37mg/m3) than in the weaving (0.61; 1.65) and spinning departments (0.60; 2.31). The personal exposure of workers in the blowing and cleaning section of the spinning department, of workers in the sizing section of the weaving department, and of workers involved in cleaning work surfaces, exceeded the occupational exposure level of 1mg/m3.
Conclusions and recommendations: The cotton dust concentration among 5 in 6, 4 in 6, and 10 in 12 workers working in blowing and cleaning, sizing, and work surface cleaning, respectively, were above the recommended occupational exposure level of 1mg/m3. Dust exposure reduction is highly advised. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2020; 34(2):97-105]
Keywords: Total cotton dust, personal exposure, textile factory, similar exposure group