Background Hairdressers are exposed to chemicals and work tasks that may cause respiratory symptoms. There is little awareness of occupational health among hairdressing salons in Palestine. Aims To characterize respiratory symptoms, lung function, and knowledge of exposure to hazards among female Palestinian hairdressers. Methods Cross-sectional study of female hairdressers and controls of female university students and staff. Working history and respiratory symptoms were collected using questionnaire. Lung function was measured. Working conditions were characterized in salons. Results A total of 170 hairdressers from 56 salons and 170 controls participated. Nineteen per cent of the hairdressers reported wheezing versus 11% in the control group. The mean forced vital capacity was 3.31 l compared with 3.42 l for controls. Adjusting for age and height, there was a forced expiratory volume in 1 s reduction of 0.093 l (95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.06–0.15) comparing hairdressers with controls. A small number of hairdressers used respiratory protective equipment, and satisfactory ventilation in salons were lacking. Conclusions Female hairdressers had higher prevalence of reported asthma and respiratory symptoms than the controls, but these differences reduced markedly when adjusted for age, height, weight and years of education. They had lower lung function measurements than the control...

Nemer, Maysaa Yousef Khaled; Kristensen, Petter; Nijem, Khaldoun; Bjertness, Espen; Skogstad, Marit
Occupational Medicine 63(1): 73–76
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