Int Arch Otorhinolaryngol 2013; 17(01): 026-030
DOI: 10.7162/S1809-97772013000100005
Original Article
Thieme Publicações Ltda Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Prevalence of rhinitis symptoms among textile industry workers exposed to cotton dust

Ivan de Picoli Dantas
1   Otorhinolaryngologist. PhD Student, University Hospital, Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo (HCFMRP-USP).
Fabiana Cardoso Pereira Valera
2   Postdoctoral in Otorhinolaryngology. Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, HCFMRP-USP.
Carlos Eduardo Monteiro Zappelini
3   Doctor. Resident in Otorhinolaryngology, University Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP).
Wilma Terezinha Anselmo-Lima
4   Associate Professor. Department of Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, HCFMRP-USP.
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

07 September 2012

07 October 2012

Publication Date:
06 January 2014 (online)


Introduction: The respiratory tract is one of the main points of entry of foreign substances into the body. Because of its location, the respiratory tract is heavily exposed to harmful agents, such as gases, vapors, or aerosols.

Aim: Our objective was to evaluate the symptoms of occupational rhinitis in workers exposed to cotton dust.

Method: The prospective study population consisted of workers from the “Nova Esperança” Cooperative of Nova Odessa (Sao Paulo), who were studied between September and December 2008. Data were collected through an individually and privately answered questionnaire designed by the author considering the clinical criteria for rhinitis.

Results: Using the questionnaire, we evaluated a total of 124 workers. Among these patients, 63.7% complained of nasal obstruction, 57.2% of nasal itching, 46.7% of rhinorrhea, and 66.1% of sneezing. Of the patients considered to have very serious symptoms, 9% had nasal obstruction; 9%, itching; 4%, rhinorrhea; and 6.4%, sneezing.

Discussion: Aerosol agents in the environment can clearly aggravate and even initiate rhinitis. From the standpoint of pathogenesis, the mechanisms of classical allergic airway inflammation involving mast cells, IgE, histamine, eosinophils, and lymphocytes may be responsible for the development of rhinitis after exposure to high molecular weight allergens such as proteins derived from animals and plants. This study showed a strong relationship between the occupational exposures associated with work in the cotton textile industry and the symptoms of rhinitis.

Conclusion: Analysis of the data clearly showed the occurrence of rhinitis symptoms in these patients, demonstrating that the prevention and treatment of this condition in the workplace is extremely important.