CYTOLOGICAL EVALUATION OF SPUTUM SAMPLES IN WELDERS
Metal fume fever and pneumosiderosis is an occupational Lung disease acquired when welders are exposure to welding fumes and iron particles during their occupation. A total of one hundred and fifty four (154) sputum samples were collected for the purpose of this study. One hundred and four (104) sputum samples were collected from welders in different locations in owerri. While ﬁfty (50) sputum samples were collected from apparently healthy controls of non welders. The age range 21-30 years recorded highest with 46 (44.23%) frequency of occurrence, followed by age range of 31-40 years with 30 (28.84%) and the Least was from the age range of 51-60 years with 4 (3.85%) frequency of occurrence for the test subjects. The Length of the exposure to welding fumes and iron particles reveals that those exposed from 7-13 years recorded the highest with 30 (28.85%) frequency of occurrence followed by age range 1-6 years with 25 (24.04%) and the Least duration of exposure was recorded among the rest ranging from 27-33 years having 10 (9.61%) each. Many iron deposits were detected in the sputum specimen giving positive reactions with Perls Prussian Blue method with 37 (71.15%) frequency and only l5 (28.85%) recorded as Negative for test subjects. Papanicolaou method was adopted for this research; some cytological ﬁndings observed were variables. Long-term exposure to welding fumes and metallic dust particles, inadequate working ventilation as well as the unawareness of its effects were among the risk factors that increased the infection, even among the apparently healthy individual.
Welding process involves joining metal parts by heating the pieces to melting temperature (Kimet et al., 2005). Soldering process as a type of welding produces various contaminants at a sufficient rate to cause both short term and long term health effects, especially if not properly controlled (Antonini et al., 1998). The metal composition of the generated fume during welding of metals is mostly dependent on the welding electrode or wire which is consumed during the process (Solano et al., 2006). Based on epidemiology more than two million workers worldwide perform welding process as part of their work duties (Solano et al., 2006). Previous studies showed that 22% of welders or solderers or persons working near welding or solderers were found to be suffering from occupational asthma and other lung diseases (Palmer et al.,1997).
One of the main limitations to study the adverse health effects of welding fumes is the variable environmental condition of the work places. This includes different ventilation qualities and also exposure to a number of other toxic materials such as asbestos, smoking, silica and organic solvent (Antonini et al., 1998).Chronic exposure to Welding fumes is also associated with a signiﬁcant reduction in lung function. There is growing evidence that welding fume exposure may be associated with increased cardiovascular disease. Although the exact mechanisms for cardiovascular disease are unknown, it seems that systemic inﬂammation resulting from occupational exposure to these fumes may be partly responsible for the increased cardiovascular risk in welders (Kimet et al., 2005).