PREVALENCE OF RESPIRATORY SYMPTOMS AND PULMONARY FUNCTION STATUS OF RESTAURANT WORKERS
The cooking process may emit toxic compounds and airway irritants from both the fuel combustion and cooking fumes which is harmful to the respiratory health among the restaurant workers. A cross-sectional study of 243 restaurant workers from the selected restaurants in Sungai Long, Malaysia was conducted. The standardized British Medical Research Council questionnaire on Respiratory Symptoms (1986) was used during the interview to access the symptoms and the spirometry test was performed to evaluate the pulmonary functions of the participants. The data of socio-demography and occupational characteristics were also collected. The most complaint respiratory symptoms by the restaurant workers were breathlessness, which accounted for 33.7%, followed by wheezing (14%). The mean values of all pulmonary function tests (PFT) of the restaurant workers were within the normal range (>80%), except for the Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) (79.09%). The results of the bivariate statistical analysis, Chi-square, ANOVA and t-test, showed the determining factors of the respiratory health among the workers were workers’ age and gender in addition to the working duration and the ethnicity. The restaurant workers in Sungai Long were at risk of developing respiratory symptoms and lower pulmonary function values due to prolonged exposure to cooking fumes. Emphasis should be given to the safety and health of restaurant workers and health education should be provided to the restaurant workers and owners. Strategies to increase notification of such occurrences among these workers should be looked into by related agencies in the country.
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