Background: Documented evidence confirms that inhalation of toxic substances emitted during charcoal production is
associated with lung function deficits and respiratory symptoms nonetheless; other factors could also give rise to the similar
respiratory disorders or problems. This study was designed to ascertain the influence other impinging factors wield on the
respiratory symptoms and lung function deficits among workers at wood-burning earth kilns.
Methodology: This was a cross-sectional analytic study conducted among workers exposed to wood smoke from wood-burning
earth kilns in Southern Nigeria. A comprehensive sampling of all workers who willing consented to participate in this study was
done since the workers were few. A modified Medical Research Council Questionnaire as well as a portable spirometer was the study
instrument. Data analyzed with SPSS version 22. Association for categorical data was tested with chi-square while Student’s t test
was applied to estimate the difference between means. Significance level was pre-determined by a p value less than 0.05.
Results: The modal age group was 40-49 years (28.4%), about half (48%) of the respondents were burners and less than twofifth
(38.5%) were domestic biomass users. All indices were worse among workers with a history of asthma (p<0.05) where same
indices but PEFR were higher among workers with a history of moulding blocks (p<0.05). However, for the three workers who
cooked in their rooms only their mean FVC and FEV1/FVC were significantly higher than others. The association of duration of
work with the prevalence respiratory symptoms was not significant (p > 0.05). Wood setters had the highest prevalence of chronic
cough, wheeze, breathlessness and chest tightness, whereas the association of job description and prevalence of symptoms was not
significant (p > 0.05).
Conclusion: History of asthma significantly and negatively impinged on lung function deficit among these workers. Duration
of job amongst other factors did not influence the prevalence of respiratory symptoms. Pre-employment screening of workers for
respiratory disorders may be a worthwhile venture to pursue in the long term.