Bala and Tabaku concluded airborne dusts and fumes to which the workers are occupationally exposed are the cause of their COPD.

COPD Rates High Among Eastern European Iron/Steel Workers

A new study by two Albanian researchers has found prevalence varying between 19.2 percent and 25.7 percent among workers in the metallurgical industry.

A study published in the Central European Journal of Public Health by two Albanian researchers found high rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among iron and steel and ferrochrome industry workers in eastern European developing countries. The prevalence of COPD varied between 19.2 percent and 25.7 percent among them, with severity ranging from mild to very severe, reported Silvana Bala of the University Hospital for Lung Diseases and Afrim Tabaku of the Public Health Institute, both in Tirana, Albania.

They assessed all risk factors and measured pulmonary function in 459 workers. The industry workers' relative risk of developing COPD was 2.1 times to 5.5 times that of non-industry controls in the study, the two reported. Bala and Tabaku concluded airborne dusts and fumes to which the workers are occupationally exposed are the cause of their COPD. They reported total suspended particles, particulate matter (PM10), and sulfur dioxide measurements in the workplaces where they conducted measurements exceeded threshold limit values in most cases.

The journal is published by the National Institute of Public Health in Prague, Czech Republic. To contact Bala, e-mail

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