Automotive mechanics are reported to have lower lung function indices. Spray painting is associated with impairment of lung function among spray painters. It is a common practice by auto repairers in Calabar to operate in the vicinity of spray painting shops. Whether such dual exposure to auto repair and spray painting environments worsens the lung function of auto mechanics is not documented. Lung function was evaluated in 300 males divided into three groups: control (group1), auto mechanics in stand-alone auto repair shops (group 2) and auto mechanics working in the vicinity of spray painting shops (group 3). Each group consisted of 100 subjects. Forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1), peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) and forced expiratory volume in the first second expressed as percentage of FVC (FEV1%) were assessed using a Vitalograph spirometer. Percentage oxygen saturation was evaluated using a pulse oximeter. Results showed no significant differences in age, weight and height among various groups. FVC was significantly reduced in groups 2 and 3 (p< 0.05 and p<0.001 respectively) compared to control but not between groups 2 and 3. FEV1 was significantly reduced in groups 2 and 3 (P <0.001 each) compared with control but not significantly different between groups 2 and 3. FEV1% was significantly lower in groups 2 and 3 (p< 0.001 each) compared with control but not between groups 2 and 3. The PEFR was significantly reduced in groups 2 and 3 (p<0.001 each) compared with control but not significantly different between groups 2 and 3. Percentage oxygen saturation was significantly reduced in groups 2 and 3 (p<0.05 and p<0.001 respectively) and also significantly lower in group 2 compared with group 3 (p<0.01). In conclusion, auto mechanics in auto repair only and auto repair shops shared with spray painters have lower lung function compared with control but no significant difference in lung function between auto mechanics in stand-alone auto repair shops compared with those in auto repair shops shared with spray painters
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