Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 35, pp 35074–35083 | Cite as

Prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among Congolese cement workers exposed to cement dust, in Kongo Central Province

  • Etongola Papy MbelambelaEmail author
  • Masamitsu Eitoku
  • Sifa Marie Joelle Muchanga
  • Antonio F. Villanueva
  • Ryoji Hirota
  • Tiffany Yuka Pulphus
  • Gedikondele Jérôme Sokolo
  • Kahoko Yasumitsu-Lovell
  • Kaori Komori
  • Narufumi Suganuma
Research Article


Chronic exposure to cement dust may induce adverse health effects, including a significant decrease in lung function. The study investigated whether the prevalence of COPD and respiratory symptoms was associated with working at different tasks exposed to varying levels of cement dust. The cross-sectional study was carried out among 223 exposed and 156 less exposed workers from two cement factories from November 20 to December 15, 2016 in DRC. Workers completed a questionnaire and spirometry was performed. Multivariate analysis was performed to evaluate the association between occupation exposed to cement dust, COPD, and respiratory symptoms, after adjustment for confounders. Morning cough and cough on most days for as much as 3 months each year were significantly higher in the exposed group (p < 0.05) (p = 0.001) than in the less exposed group. As compared to the less exposed group, the prevalence of COPD was higher among the exposed group, 28.2 and 9.6% respectively (p < 0.001). A significant association with COPD, aOR 14.49 (5.33; 39.40), aOR 3.37 (1.44; 7.89), and aOR 3.09 (1.58; 6.05) was found among cleaning, transportation, and production workers, respectively. Working at certain tasks exposed to cement dust is associated with the higher prevalence of COPD and respiratory symptoms. A greater risk is being among cleaning, transportation, and production workers. This suggests the necessity to prioritize the quality of preventive measures in each work area.


Dust Occupation Portland cement Respiratory symptoms Lung function COPD 



This study was supported by the Department of Environmental Medicine of Kochi University. We thank the authorities of the Ministry of Industries, CILU and CINAT cement factories and our research team in DRC for their support in the carrying out of this study.

Authors’ contributions

EPM principal investigator and designer of the study, participated in data collection, statistical analysis, wrote and revised the manuscript, and approved the final version of manuscript.

ME participated in study design, data analysis and interpretation, drafting and approved the final version of manuscript.

SMM participated in research designing, statistical analysis, approved the final version of manuscript.

AVN participated in study design, wrote the manuscript, and approved the final version of manuscript.

RH participated in research designing, statistical analysis, and approved the final version of manuscript.

TYP wrote the manuscript, approved the final version of manuscript.

GJS participated in research designing, data collection, and approved the final version of manuscript.

KY-L participated in statistical analysis; improve the manuscript, approval of the final version of manuscript.

KK participated in research designing, and approved the final version of manuscript.

NS professor, advisor of research, participated in research designing, statistical analysis, improved and approved the final version of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

This study is in accordance with the Ethical standards. This study was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki declaration. The study protocol was approved by the DRC Governmental Ministry of Industries and the Ethics Committee of Kochi University Medical School, Japan (approval number: 28-87).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Abrons H, Petersen M, Sanderson W, Engelberg A, Harber P (1988) Symptoms, ventilatory function, and environmental exposures in Portland cement workers. Occup Environ Med 45:368–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. AbuDhaise B, Rabi A, Al Zwairy M, El Hader A, El Qaderi S (1997) Pulmonary manifestations in cement workers in Jordan. Int J Occup Med Environ Health 10:417–428Google Scholar
  3. Ahmed HO, Abdullah AA (2012) Dust exposure and respiratory symptoms among cement factory workers in the United Arab Emirates. Ind Health 50:214–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alakija W, Iyawe V, Jarikre L, Chiwuzie J (1989) Ventilatory function of workers at okpella cement factory in Nigeria. West Afr J Med 9:187–192Google Scholar
  5. Al-Neaimi Y, Gomes J, Lloyd O (2001) Respiratory illnesses and ventilatory function among workers at a cement factory in a rapidly developing country. Occup Med 51:367–373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Becklake M (1995) International union against tuberculosis and lung disease (iuatld): initiatives in non-tuberculous lung disease. Tuber Lung Dis 76:493–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Celli BR, MacNee W, Agusti A, Anzueto A, Berg B, Buist AS, Calverley PMA, Chavannes N, Dillard T, Fahy B, Fein A, Heffner J, Lareau S, Meek P, Martinez F, McNicholas W, Muris J, Austegard E, Pauwels R, Rennard S, Rossi A, Siafakas N, Tiep B, Vestbo J, Wouters E, ZuWallack R (2004) Standards for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with copd: a summary of the ats/ers position paper. Eur Respir J 23:932–946CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Delabre L, Pilorget C, Garras L, FEVOTTE J (2010) Éléments techniques sur l'exposition professionnelle aux poussières alvéolaires de silice cristalline libre—présentation d'une matrice emplois-expositions aux poussières alvéolaires de silice cristalline libre. Institut de Veille Sanitaire, Saint-Maurice (Fra)Google Scholar
  9. Fell AKM, Thomassen TR, Kristensen P, Egeland T, Kongerud J (2003) Respiratory symptoms and ventilatory function in workers exposed to Portland cement dust. J Occup Environ Med 45:1008–1014CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hankinson JL, Odencrantz JR, Fedan KB (1999) Spirometric reference values from a sample of the general U.S. population. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 159:179–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hygienists ACoGfI (2008) Threshold limit values for chemical substances and physical agents and biological exposure indices [internet]. ACGIH Cincinnati, OhioGoogle Scholar
  12. Kakooei H, Gholami A, Ghasemkhani M, Hosseini M, Panahi D, Pouryaghoub G (2012) Dust exposure and respiratory health effects in cement production. Acta Med Iranica 50:122Google Scholar
  13. Maciejewska A, Bielichowska-Cybula G (1991) Biological effect of cement dust. Med Pr 42:281–289Google Scholar
  14. Mannino DM (2003) Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: definition and epidemiology. Respir Care 48:1185–1193Google Scholar
  15. Meo SA (2004) Health hazards of cement dust. Saudi Med J 25:1153–1159Google Scholar
  16. Merenu I, Mojiminiyi F, Njoku C, Ibrahim M (2007) The effect of chronic cement dust exposure on lung function of cement factory workers in Sokoto, Nigeria. Afr J Biomed Res 10:139–143Google Scholar
  17. Mwaiselage J, Bråtveit M, Moen B, Mashalla Y (2004) Cement dust exposure and ventilatory function impairment: an exposure–response study. J Occup Environ Med 46:658–667CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mwaiselage J, Bråtveit M, Moen BE, Mashalla Y (2005) Respiratory symptoms and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among cement factory workers. Scand J Work Environ Health 31:316–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Noor H, Yap C, Zolkepli O, Faridah M (2000) Effect of exposure to dust on lung function of cement factory workers. Med J Malaysia 55:51–57Google Scholar
  20. Pellegrino R, Viegi G, Brusasco V, Crapo RO, Burgos F, Casaburi R, Coates A, van der Grinten C, Gustafsson P, Hankinson J, Jensen R, Johnson DC, MacIntyre N, McKay R, Miller MR, Navajas D, Pedersen OF, Wanger J (2005) Interpretative strategies for lung function tests. Eur Respir J 26:948–968CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pickering TG, Hall JE, Appel LJ, Falkner BE, Graves J, Hill MN et al (2005) Recommendations for blood pressure measurement in humans and experimental animals: part 1: blood pressure measurement in humans: a statement for professionals from the subcommittee of professional and public education of the American heart association council on high blood pressure research. Hypertension (Dallas, Tex : 1979) (45):142–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Poornajaf A, Kakooei H, Hosseini M, Ferasati F, Kakaei H (2010) The effect of cement dust on the lung function in a cement factory, Iran. Int Jf Occup Hyg 2:74–78Google Scholar
  23. Rasmussen F, Borchsenius L, Holstein B, Sølvsteen P (1977) Lung function and long-term exposure to cement dust. Scand J Respir Dis 58:252–264Google Scholar
  24. Saric M, Kalacic I, Holetic A (1976) Follow-up of ventilatory lung function in a group of cement workers. Occup Environ Med 33:18–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Yang C-Y, Huang C-C, Chiu H-F (1997) Effects of occupational dust exposure on the respiratory health of Portland cement workers. Occup Health Ind Med 3:111Google Scholar
  26. Zeleke ZK. 2011. Respiratory health among cement workers in EthiopiaGoogle Scholar
  27. Zeleke ZK, Moen BE, Bråtveit M (2010) Cement dust exposure and acute lung function: a cross shift study. BMC Pulm Med 10:19CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Etongola Papy Mbelambela
    • 1
    Email author
  • Masamitsu Eitoku
    • 1
  • Sifa Marie Joelle Muchanga
    • 2
    • 3
  • Antonio F. Villanueva
    • 3
  • Ryoji Hirota
    • 4
  • Tiffany Yuka Pulphus
    • 1
  • Gedikondele Jérôme Sokolo
    • 5
  • Kahoko Yasumitsu-Lovell
    • 1
    • 6
  • Kaori Komori
    • 1
  • Narufumi Suganuma
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental MedicineKochi University Medical SchoolNankokuJapan
  2. 2.Department of Gynecology and ObstetricsUniversity of KinshasaKinshasaDemocratic Republic of Congo
  3. 3.National Center for Global Health and MedicineTokyoJapan
  4. 4.Graduate School of Health SciencesMatsumoto UniversityMatsumotoJapan
  5. 5.Department of Specialities, Oto-Rhino-LaryngologyUniversity of KinshasaKinshasaDemocratic Republic of Congo
  6. 6.Gillberg Neuropsychiatry CentreUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

Personalised recommendations