Occupational Asthma Reference

Juntarawijit C, Juntarawijit Y, Cooking smoke and respiratory symptoms of restaurant workers in Thailand, BMC Pulmonary Medicine, 2017;17:41,10.1186/s12890-017-0385-7

Keywords: Thailand, ep, cs, case control, questionnaire, chef, restaurant, cook, cough, wheeze

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Abstract

Background
Restaurant workers are at risk from exposure to toxic compounds from burning of fuel and fumes from cooking. However, the literature is almost silent on the issue. What discussion that can be found in the literature focuses on the potential effects from biomass smoke exposure in the home kitchen, and does not address the problem as occurring in the workplace, particularly in restaurants.

Methods
This was a cross-sectional survey of 224 worker from 142 food restaurants in the Tha Pho sub-district of Phitsanulok, a province in Thailand. The standard questionnaire from the British Medical Research Council was used to collect data on chronic respiratory symptoms, including cough, phlegm, dyspnea, severe dyspnea, stuffy nose in the participating workers. Data on their health symptoms experienced in the past 30 days was also asked. A constructed questionnaire was used to collect exposure data, including type of job, time in the kitchen, the frequency of frying food, tears while cooking (TWC), the type of restaurant, fuel used for cooking, the size and location of the kitchen, and the exhaust system and ventilation. The prevalence of the symptoms was compared with those obtained from 395 controls, who were neighbors of the participants who do not work in a restaurant.

Results
In comparison to the control group, the restaurant workers had twice or more the prevalence on most of the chronic health symptoms. Men had a higher risk for “dyspnea”, “stuffy nose” and “wheeze” while women had higher risk of “cough”. A Rate Ratio (RR) of susceptibility was established, which ranged from 1.4 up to 9.9. The minimum RR was for women with “severe dyspnea” (RR of 1.4, 95%CI 0.8, 2.5) while the men showed the maximum RR of 9.9 (95%CI 4.5–22.0) for “wheeze”. Possible risk factors identified were job description, job period, size of restaurant, kitchen location, type of cooking oil, hours of stay in the kitchen area, number of fry dishes prepared, frequency of occurrence of TWC, and additional cooking at home. Working for 6–10 year increased the risk of “cough” with an Odd Ratio (OR) of 3.19 (P?<?0.01) while working for more than 10 years increased the risk of “cough” (OR?=?3.27, P?<?0.01), “phlegm” (OR?=?3.87, P?=?0.01) and “wheeze” (OR?=?2.38, P?=?0.05). Working as a chef had a higher risk of “cough” by 2.33 (P?=?0.01) as comparing to other jobs. Workers in a relatively large restaurant using 4 or more stoves had increased risk of “wheeze” with OR of 3.81 (P?<?0.01) and “stuffy nose” with OR of 3.56 (P?<?0.01). Using vegetable oil increased the risk of “stuffy nose” by 2.94 (P?<?0.01). Every 10 h of stay in the kitchen area was associated with a minimal increase in the risk of “cough”, “wheeze” and “symptoms in the past 30 days” by 1.15 (P?=?0.02), 1.16 (P?=?0.01) and 1.16 (P?=?0.02), respectively.

Conclusions
Restaurant workers are at risk of respiratory symptoms caused by exposure to toxic compounds from cooking fumes. Job description, job period, size of restaurant, kitchen location, type of cooking oil, hours of stay in the kitchen area, number of fry dishes prepared, frequency of occurrence of TWC, and additional cooking at home were the predictive factors. Workplace Health and Safety protection of restaurant worker is urgently needed and the issue should receive more public attention.

Plain text: Background Restaurant workers are at risk from exposure to toxic compounds from burning of fuel and fumes from cooking. However, the literature is almost silent on the issue. What discussion that can be found in the literature focuses on the potential effects from biomass smoke exposure in the home kitchen, and does not address the problem as occurring in the workplace, particularly in restaurants. Methods This was a cross-sectional survey of 224 worker from 142 food restaurants in the Tha Pho sub-district of Phitsanulok, a province in Thailand. The standard questionnaire from the British Medical Research Council was used to collect data on chronic respiratory symptoms, including cough, phlegm, dyspnea, severe dyspnea, stuffy nose in the participating workers. Data on their health symptoms experienced in the past 30 days was also asked. A constructed questionnaire was used to collect exposure data, including type of job, time in the kitchen, the frequency of frying food, tears while cooking (TWC), the type of restaurant, fuel used for cooking, the size and location of the kitchen, and the exhaust system and ventilation. The prevalence of the symptoms was compared with those obtained from 395 controls, who were neighbors of the participants who do not work in a restaurant. Results In comparison to the control group, the restaurant workers had twice or more the prevalence on most of the chronic health symptoms. Men had a higher risk for "dyspnea", "stuffy nose" and "wheeze" while women had higher risk of "cough". A Rate Ratio (RR) of susceptibility was established, which ranged from 1.4 up to 9.9. The minimum RR was for women with "severe dyspnea" (RR of 1.4, 95%CI 0.8, 2.5) while the men showed the maximum RR of 9.9 (95%CI 4.5-22.0) for "wheeze". Possible risk factors identified were job description, job period, size of restaurant, kitchen location, type of cooking oil, hours of stay in the kitchen area, number of fry dishes prepared, frequency of occurrence of TWC, and additional cooking at home. Working for 6-10 year increased the risk of "cough" with an Odd Ratio (OR) of 3.19 (P < 0.01) while working for more than 10 years increased the risk of "cough" (OR = 3.27, P < 0.01), "phlegm" (OR = 3.87, P = 0.01) and "wheeze" (OR = 2.38, P = 0.05). Working as a chef had a higher risk of "cough" by 2.33 (P = 0.01) as comparing to other jobs. Workers in a relatively large restaurant using 4 or more stoves had increased risk of "wheeze" with OR of 3.81 (P < 0.01) and "stuffy nose" with OR of 3.56 (P < 0.01). Using vegetable oil increased the risk of "stuffy nose" by 2.94 (P < 0.01). Every 10 h of stay in the kitchen area was associated with a minimal increase in the risk of "cough", "wheeze" and "symptoms in the past 30 days" by 1.15 (P = 0.02), 1.16 (P = 0.01) and 1.16 (P = 0.02), respectively. Conclusions Restaurant workers are at risk of respiratory symptoms caused by exposure to toxic compounds from cooking fumes. Job description, job period, size of restaurant, kitchen location, type of cooking oil, hours of stay in the kitchen area, number of fry dishes prepared, frequency of occurrence of TWC, and additional cooking at home were the predictive factors. Workplace Health and Safety protection of restaurant worker is urgently needed and the issue should receive more public attention.

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Comments

There is interesting data in this study, but the messages are difficult to disentangle. The study includes 4 different types of restaurants and neighborhood controls. Some fry (Thai cuisine, going oil exposure), some boil noodles (in water(, some serve food cooked elsewhere (reheating only) and some serve papaya salads (no cooking). Various comparisons of symptoms between different groups, but there is no table with type of restaurant and symptom prevalence. The authors conclude that frying was associated with cough and phlegm, frying with oil rather than lard was associated with more stuffy nose Working in a restaurant with >3 stoves was associated with more wheeze. In general restaurant workers were more symptomatic than controls. Smoking in men was very high, smoking in women very low.
3/2/2017

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