Respiratory problems in tannery workers in Istanbul

İŞSEVER H., ÖZDİLLİ K., Özyildirim B. A., Hapçioglu B., Ince N., Ince H., ...More

Indoor and Built Environment, vol.16, no.2, pp.177-183, 2007 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 16 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/1420326x06076670
  • Journal Name: Indoor and Built Environment
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.177-183
  • Keywords: tannery workers, tanning, leather, chromium compounds, solvent exposure
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: No


Tannery workers are exposed to many chemical and physical hazards. The current study involved 730 workers from 23 leather factories located in the Tuzla Organized Industry Region, Istanbul. Participants were interviewed and underwent clinical examination. After the basic physical examination, respiratory functions were measured by spirometer and the workers questioned about asthma. Health problems included gastrointestinal complaints (7.30%), bronchitis (3.11%) and asthma (3.0%). Signs of bronchial obstruction - wheeze and rhonchus - were detected in 71 (9.72%) workers. A deficit in the values of FVC%, FEV1%, FEV1/FVC%, PEF%, FEF25-75% was set nominally at 80% of the respiratory function test parameters. Decreased pulmonary function results were found for FVC% in 36 (4.93%) workers, FEV 1 in 71 (9.72%), FEV1/FVC in 18 (2.59%), PEF in 183 (25.1%) and FEF25-75% in 204 (27.94%). The number of those with respiratory obstruction detected by spirometry was 294 cases (40.27%), more than the number of cases, 263 (36.02%), who claimed respiratory problems in the questionnaire. This study was a contribution towards efforts to improve the factory environment and control workplace risks. Together with med- ical examinations before and during employment and provision of continuous health services and training will reduce the risk of occupational disease to a minimum. Introduction Leather production is one of the world's oldest trades, consisting of a chemical process that turns animal hides into the much less perishable material, leather. As part of this process, after the removal of the epidermis and subcutaneous tissue, the dermal collagen fibres are stabilized by means of chemical treatment known generically as tanning [1]. Employees who work in tanneries are liable to be affected by their exposure to lots of hazardous materials and processes during tanning. These hazards can be grouped into four categories: biological, physical and chemical hazards and work accidents. © 2007 SAGE Publications.