The physiological responses to thermal radiation (46·2 ± 5·1°C) and high ambient temperature (38·2 ± 3·4°C) were recorded in 77 glass bangle workers over the work shift in a glass bangle factory at Firozabad. The oral temperature showed a mean rise of 2·2°F over the work shift in the exposed workers in comparison to a 1·2°F rise observed in the control group. The maximum increase in oral temperature (2·5°F)was recorded in Sikiyas and pahalwalas who worked near the Sikai furnace while Babalwalas showed the lowest rise (1·2°F) in the oral temperature. The peak value of oral temperature was recorded at 16.00 h. The working heart rate also exhibited a mean rise of 24 beats/min in the bangle workers as result of exposure to thermal radiation. The greatest increase in heart rate (30·5 beats/min) was recorded in Fireman and the smallest increase (20·3 beats/min) in Battiwalas. The peak value of heart rate was also observed at 16.00 h in the bangle workers. Respiratory function studies revealed pulmonary hyperventilation in the exposed workers caused by an increase in tidal volume and breathing frequency while the control group did not show any significant increase in pulmonary ventilation over the day's work. The sweat loss and the associated body dehydration was maximally recorded in the Firemen working near the main furnace. The extent of dehydration varied from 0·81 per cent to 2·47 per cent in the glass bangle workers. However, body dehydration was below the tolerance limit. The changes observed in the physiological functions revealed cardio-respiratory instability and physiological strain in the glass bangle workers exposed to the hot environment prevailing in this industry.
Copyright (C) 1988, Society of Occupational Medicine
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