There is still unprotected and continuous exposure to cotton dusts, endotoxins, chemicals due to chemical and mechanical processes and to ergonomic hazards in the cotton industry of Pakistan, resulting in different types of public health problems in cotton workers. The aim of the study is to determine the prevalence of byssinosis and other public health problems in cotton factories of Faisalabad; to measure cotton dusts and endotoxins in different cotton factories and to correlate their effects on lungs via Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs) and to determine cytotoxic and genotoxic cellular effects in buccal cells due to long term exposure to cotton dusts and endotoxins in exposed cotton workers against a controlled/non-exposed group. Public health problems and occupational safety will be assessed via a structured check list. A structured questionnaire will be administered to 800 cotton workers to determine the prevalence of byssinosis and other health problems. PFTs will be performed on selected exposed cotton workers. Cotton dusts and endotoxins will be measured in different sections of different cotton factories. Buccal cells will be collected from 50 exposed cotton weavers and also from similar numbered matched controlled/non-exposed group. The organic cotton dusts contain endotoxin which is associated with acute and chronic inflammation of the respiratory tract, resulting in decline in lung function and in a clinical condition called “byssinosis”, organic dust toxic syndrome and chronic airway obstruction. As the exposure leads to inflammation, so there may be cytotoxicity in buccal cells.
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