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LETTER TO EDITOR  
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 44  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 173-174
 

Study on health problems faced by workers of sericulture industry: A cross-sectional study in the North Coastal Andhra Pradesh


1 MD Community Medicine, Medical Officer, Central Health Services, Government of India, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
2 MD Community Medicine, Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Mallareddy Medical College for Women, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
3 Post Graduate, Department of Community Medicine, Maharajah's Institute of Medical Sciences, Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh, India

Date of Submission27-Sep-2018
Date of Acceptance09-Apr-2019
Date of Web Publication27-Jun-2019

Correspondence Address:
Mandadi Jyotsna
D 11 - 03, Sunway Opus Grand Nivelle, Sai Anurag Colony, Ameenpur, Miyapur, Hyderabad - 502 032, Telangana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijcm.IJCM_300_18

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How to cite this article:
Jyotsna M, Anusha M, Reddi Naidu LV. Study on health problems faced by workers of sericulture industry: A cross-sectional study in the North Coastal Andhra Pradesh. Indian J Community Med 2019;44:173-4

How to cite this URL:
Jyotsna M, Anusha M, Reddi Naidu LV. Study on health problems faced by workers of sericulture industry: A cross-sectional study in the North Coastal Andhra Pradesh. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2019 [cited 2019 Jul 23];44:173-4. Available from: http://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2019/44/2/173/261522




Sir,

Sericulture industry is labor oriented agro-industry employing 70 lakh people in India. About 23,060 tonnes of silk is produced in India annually, which generates a turnover of Rs. 25,000 crore of which Rs. 2500 crore is exported.[1] The rearers in silk industry are engaged in several types of tasks and get exposed to multiple physical, chemical, and biological agents, which make them vulnerable to various health problems that include injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, allergies, eye irritation, and respiratory diseases.[2]

This cross-sectional study was conducted after obtaining informed consent, among 194 sericulture industry workers of the Nellimarla Sericulture Industry, Vizianagaram District, Andhra Pradesh between December 15, 2017, and March 16, 2018, to study the morbidity pattern of sericulture workers and to provide health education regarding the prevention of occupational hazards to the workers. The collected data were analyzed using IBM SPSS statistics for Windows, Version 21.0. (Armonk, NY: IBM Corp).

Majority of the workers (67%) were in the age group of 30–40 years. The total number of male workers in the study population comprised 131 (67.5%) and the total female workers were 63 (32.5%).

About 52.1% of the workers had been working for more than 10 years, 32.4% of the workers between 5 and 10 years, and 15.5% worked for <5 years duration. Most of the workers (28.8%) were employed in the silk filament reeling section followed by the silkworm rearing section (22.2%). Weaving and twisting categories have almost equal number of workers (11.4%). The least number of workers are in the printing and dyeing section (6.2%). Cough is the predominant respiratory symptom (35.5%), followed by expectoration (27.3%), chest tightness (20.1%), and dyspnea (18%). The results have shown a statistically significant difference between males and females with respect to cough, expectoration, and chest tightness, whereas for dyspnea, the difference is not statistically significant at 95% confidence level.

Skin morbidity in the study population revealed that 21.5% had skin itch followed by dryness of the skin in 20.6%. Skin blisters due to the immersion of hands in hot water was observed in 6.1% and ulcers in 7.7%. There is a statistically significant difference between males and females for skin itch, whereas for dryness, blisters, and ulcers, there is no statistically significant difference at 95% confidence level.

[Table 1] shows that most of the workers had low back pain (67.8%), followed by headache (57.6%). Ocular problems were seen in 50.4% of the study population. Noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus were observed in 25.8%. Physical injuries at workplace occurred in 16.9%. About 33.4% were known hypertensive, and 25.8% were known diabetic.
Table 1: Overall morbidity profile of the study subjects (n=194)

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The male workers in the present study comprised 67.5%, whereas the female workers were 32.5%. In a study done by Gowda et al. among 120 sericulture workers of Ramanagaram in South India, the study group consisted of 29% of males and 61% of females.[3]

In the present study, the workers were mostly in the age group of 30–40 years. In Gowda et al.'s study, the workers were mostly in the age group of 21–30 years,[3] whereas in a study conducted by Jaiswal among 345 male workers, the predominant age group was 20–49 years.[4]

Majority of the workers in the present study suffered from cough (35.5%). Expectoration was observed in 27.3%, chest tightness in 20.1%, and dyspnea in 18% of the study population. This was similar to Jaiswal study where respiratory problems were observed in 36.8% of the study population[4] and dissimilar to a study conducted by Pandey in Jammu where the prevalence of respiratory morbidity was 10%.[1]

In the present study, 21.5% of the study population had the itch as a skin complaint followed by dryness of skin in 20.6%. Skin blisters were observed in 6.1% and ulcers in 7.7%. In Wani and Jaiswal study, skin burns were seen in 13.54%.[2]

In the present study, most of the workers had low back pain (67.8%) which is very high when compared to Pandey study where backache and joint pains were seen in 15% and 28%, respectively.[1]

The prevalence of headache in the present study is 57.6%, while in a study conducted by Wani and Jaiswal at Kashmir, the prevalence of headache was 46.35%.[2]

Ocular problems were seen in 50.4% of the study population in the present study which is very high compared to Pandey study where eyesight weakness was observed in 3% of the respondents[1] and in Wani and Jaiswal study, the prevalence of eye irritation was 16.6%.[2]

Physical injuries at workplace occurred in 16.9% in the present study, whereas in Wani and Jaiswal study, injuries occurred in 40.1% of the study population.[2]

33.4% were known hypertensive in the present study, whereas in a study done by Meshram and Murarka study, it was observed that 32% were hypertensive.[5]

It is concluded from the study that the overall prevalence of health hazards among workers of sericulture industry is considerably high. This is due to abundant production of carbon monoxide during silkworm rearing, immersion of hands in boiling water for reeling the silk filament, and usage of harmful chemicals for dying and printing. Visit the sericulture industry revealed that with appropriate health education regarding health hazards and personal protective equipment a reduction in the morbidity status can be achieved. A considerable reduction in the exposure to health hazards among workers of sericulture industry would result in the reduction of occupational problems. There is a need for free flow of medical advice to alleviate the symptoms of various morbidity conditions among the workers of the sericulture industry. Improvement in health status among the workers is possible by improvement awareness level and improvement of their general health practices toward reducing exposure to occupational health hazards.

It is recommended that vigorous training of health-care delivery staff is a prerequisite for increasing prompt identification of workers having symptoms of occupational health problems. Referral of the affected workers to the nearest health-care facilities for proper management is recommended.

No clinical investigations were performed on the workers to know the precise burden of the problem. Information obtained from the workers is based on examination of their clinical signs and symptoms. Further studies need to be conducted with appropriate investigative procedures.

Acknowledgment

We offer our sincere thanks to the professors and other faculty members of the Department of Community Medicine, Maharajah's Institute of Medical Sciences for their kind co-operation and support. We are grateful to the manager of the Nellimarla Sericulture Industry, Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh for according permission and extending their support to carry out the study.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Pandey RK. Occupational Health Problems in Silk Production: A Review. Miransahib, Jammu, India: Regional Sericultural Research Station; 2014.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Wani KA, Jaiswal YK. Health Hazards of rearing silk worms and environmental impact assessment of rearing households of Kashmir, India. Nat Environ Pollut Technol Int Q Sci J 2011;10:85-90.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Gowda G, Vijayeendra AM, Sarkar N, Shivalingaiah AH, Shah A, Ashwathnarayana AG, et al. Astudy on occupational asthma among workers of silk filatures in South India. Indian J Occup Environ Med 2014;18:64-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
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4.
Jaiswal A, Kapoor AK, Kapoor S. Health conditions of the textile workers and their association with breathing condition. The Asian Man 2011;5:28-33.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Meshram TT, Murarka KI. Assessment of prevalence of hypertension amongst workers of silk industry in Kanchipuram district. Int J Med Sci Clin Invent 2017;4:2968-70.  Back to cited text no. 5
    



 
 
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