ASSESSMENT OF LUNG FUNCTION STATUS OF WORKERS AT A TRANSFORMER MANUFACTURING PLANT IN SELANGOR, MALAYSIA
Transformer manufacturing industry uses volatile organic compounds (VOCs) containing materials such as varnish which can cause adverse health effects to human. Exposure to a high level of VOCs could disrupt the normal functions of a human lung.Therefore, this study was conducted to evaluate the status of lung functions of the workers exposed to VOCs at a transformer manufacturing plant in Selangor. The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) concentration in the office and production area was measured using direct-reading method and 60 subjects were selected to undergo the lung function test. The FVC and FEV1 values showed significant difference (p<0.05) between the exposed group and the non-exposed group. The mean readings of FVC (69.07±12.58) and FEV₁ (72.90±10.46) of the exposed groups were lower than the non-exposed group, which were 81.47±9.78 and 84.23±9.07, respectively. In contrast to the FEV1/FVC parameters, the non-exposed group (102.93 ± 7.17) showed lower mean values than the exposed group (105.90±8.98). Besides that, the nasal symptoms showed significant differences (p<0.05) between the exposed and non-exposed group. The demographic data of the exposed group showed no association with the lung function status of the exposed group workers. However, the lung functions of the exposed group were influenced by the concentration of VOCs in the production area. High concentration of VOCs may cause detrimental effects on the lung functions. Therefore, management or employers in the industry should always be aware of the effects of VOCs, and take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and welfare of the employees.
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