Generation of the Cotton Dust during Manufacturing:
- Ginning factories discharge large amounts of cotton dusts. Cotton ginning and pressing have been identified as traditional industries under the unorganized sector which functions on a seasonal basis.
- Major problem of cotton dust exists in the blow room and carding section of spinning mill whereas exposure level in other areas is comparatively not much.
- Poor Relative Humidity follow-up in the department.
- Blow-down, or blow-off, is the cleaning of equipment and surfaces with compressed air.
- Cleaning of clothing or floors with compressed air.
- Improper handling of waste during transportation.
- Insufficient ventilation system.
- Improper suction system in the key areas such as blow room and carding and wherever there is a chance of dust generation.
- When materials such as laps, sliver cans and roving bobbins are delayed in process or stored for an extended period in an area where there is a likelihood of significant dust or lint accumulation. Poor follow-up in covering the material leads to dust formation.
- Usage of spring loaded cans and carts as waste receptacles creating dust dispersion during compression of the spring loaded bottoms.
- Poor working procedures and cleaning methods.
Health Hazards Associated with Cotton Dust Exposure:
Workers exposed to cotton dust laden environment generally become patients of byssinosis.
It is a breathing disorder that occurs in some individuals with exposure to raw cotton dust. Characteristically, workers exhibit shortness of breath and/or the feeling of chest tightness when returning to work after being in the mill for a day or more. There may be increased cough and phlegm production.
Change in the levels of ESR, LDH3 and Histamine may be used as indicators to assess pulmonary dysfunction in the workers those are exposed to cotton dust. It was suggested that the low hemoglobin and poor immunity against diseases may also predispose the out come pulmonary dysfunction at an earlier stage. Cotton dust extract induces the release of histamine from samples of human lung tissue in vitro. Therefore it is believed that histamine release is responsible for the major symptoms of byssinosis, viz, "chest tightness".
Dr. Richard Schilling, a British physician developed a system of grading workers based on their breathing complaints on the first workday of the week. Schillings classification grades byssinosis according to how far it has progressed. Schillings classifications are as follows.
- Grade 0 = No complaints of breathing problems.
- Grade 1/2 = Chest tightness and/or shortness of breath sometimes on the first day of the workweek.
- Grade 1 = Chest tightness and/or shortness of breath always on the first day of the workweek.
- Grade 2 = Chest tightness and/or shortness of breath on the first workday and on other days of the workweek.
- Grade 3 = Chest tightness and/or shortness of breath on the first workday and other days as well as impairment of lung function.
It is believed that the degree or severity of response for individuals with symptoms of byssinosis is related to the dust level in the workplace. The beginning steps in yarn preparation generally produce more dust. Therefore, the closer to the beginning of the process, the higher will be the dust level and the more likely the pulmonary reaction or response for some workers.