Peak Expiratory Flow Rate and Oxygen Saturation: A Simple and Effective Tool to Measure Cardiorespiratory Status in Thermal Plant Workers
The generation of electric power is an important source of pollutants such as mercury, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter, which affects the respiratory, cardiovascular and central nervous system.
The objective of the study was to determine the effects of occupation on the health of the thermal power plant workers.
Material and methods
Peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) and acute changes in oxygen saturation were measured in 100 healthy male workers, aged 30–45 years, of two different units of power plant exposed to coal and coal combustion products and compared with 50 non-exposed attendants working at the hospital.
The mean peak expiratory flow rate of the attendants in the hospital was found to be 443.4 ± 13.29 l/min, which was significantly more than workers of both the units of the thermal power plant. Acute changes in oxygen saturation were within normal limits (96–98%) in all workers, but the mean oxygen saturation of the coal ash unit workers of the thermal power plant was significantly lower (P < 0.001) than the attendants at the hospital.
Although there was little evidence of pollution-related hypoxia, impaired PEFR could reflect changes in the respiratory system of the thermal plant workers.
Peak expiratory flow rate, Oxygen saturation, Coal dust, Thermal plant workers.