Evidence of allergic reactions and cardiopulmonary impairments among traders operating from foodstuff warehouses
- Background: Foodstuff traders operating from warehouses (FTFW) are potentially exposed to dangerous rodenticides/pesticides that may have adverse effects on cardiopulmonary function. Methods: 50 consenting male foodstuff traders, comprising 15 traders (21–63 years) operating outside warehouses and 35 FTFW (20–64 years), were randomly recruited at Ogbete Market, Enugu, in a cross-sectional observational study of spirometric and electrocardiographic parameters. 17 FTFW (21–57 years) participated in focus group discussions. Qualitative and quantitative data were analysed thematically and with independent t-test and Pearson correlation coefficient at p < 0.05, respectively. Results: Most FTFW experienced respiratory symptoms, especially dry cough (97,1%) and wheezing (31.4%) with significant reductions in forced vital capacity (FVC) (t = -2.654; p = 0.011), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) (t = -2.240; p = 0.030), maximum expiratory flow rate (FEF200-1200) (t = -1.148; p = -0.047), and forced end-expiratory flow (FEF25-75) (t = -1.11; p = 0.007). The maximum mid-expiratory flow (FEF25-75) was marginally decreased (p > 0.05) with a significantly prolonged (p < 0.05) QTc interval. Conclusion: Allergic response was evident in the FTFW. Significant decrease in FVC may negatively impact lung flow rates and explains the marginal decrease in FEF25-75, which implies a relative limitation in airflow of peripheral/distal airways and elastic recoil of the lungs. This is consistent with obstructive pulmonary disease; a significant decrease in FEF75-85/FEV1 supports this conclusion. Significant decrease in FEF200-1200 indicates abnormalities in the large airways/larynx just as significantly prolonged ventricular repolarization suggests cardiac arrhythmias.