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Background: The relationship between cardiovascular diseases and rise in occupational dust have been known for more than a decade.
Objective: To assess the impact of quarry dust on the blood pressure parameters of quarry workers in Abakaliki metropolis.
Methods: 200 subjects participated in this study. 100 quarry workers (test group) and 100 non-quarry workers (control group). A questionnaire was issued to the participants to obtain some vital medical and workplace information. Signed consents forms were obtained from the participants. A digital sphygmomanometer was used to measure systole, diastole and pulse rate. Mean arterial pressure calculated. Dust measuring device (air sampler PCE-PCO 1) was used to analyze the quantity, quality and sizes of particulate matters present in the research area. Data were presented as Mean ±SEM, analyzed using a 2-way ANOVA and a multiple comparison test using Tukey's Post Hoc Test. Level of significance was set at 95%. All statistical analyses were carried out using Graph Pad prism 7 software.
Results: Participants were within the age of 25 to 50 years. Quarry workers were exposed to ultrafine and coarse particulate matters (PM0.5-2.5). The result revealed 18 mmHg increase in the diastolic blood pressure (DBP) of quarry machine operators, 10 mmHg increase in DBP of quarry stone carriers and 15 mmHg increase in DBP of quarry stone crushers when compared with the control. Also, 19 mmHg rise in systolic blood pressure (SBP) of quarry machine operators, 15 mmHg increase in SBP of quarry stone carriers and 18 mmHg rise in SBP of quarry stone crushers were recorded when compared with the control. In addition, 19 mmHg increase in the mean arterial pressure (MAP) of quarry machine operators, 12 mmHg rise in MAP of quarry stone carriers and 16 mmHg increase in MAP of quarry stone crushers were observed when compared with the control. Furthermore, 22 beats per minute (bpm) increase in the pulse rate of quarry machine operators, 18 bpm rise in pulse rate of quarry stone carriers and 17 bpm increase in pulse rate of quarry stone crushers were detected when compared with the control. Among the different groups of quarry workers, quarry machine operators recorded significant increase in their diastole, systole and mean arterial pressure when compared with other different groups of quarry workers.
Conclusion: Quarry workers have elevated systole, diastole, mean arterial pressure and pulse rate than non-quarry workers thus may have compromised cardiovascular functions. Also, the observed increase in systole, diastole and MAP of quarry machine operators when compared with other different groups of quarry workers shows that more exposure to quarry dust may cause more damage to the cardiovascular system. Quarry workers need to be motivated to embrace cardiovascular health safety approaches and also, be enlightened on quarry dusts risks.
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