• Cytological value of sputum in workers daily exposed to air pollution.

      Alderisio, Mauro; Cenci, Maria; Mudu, Pierpaolo; Vecchione, Aldo; Giovagnoli, Maria Rosaria (2009-05-15)
      In this study, quantitative modifications of dust cells, siderocytes, Curschmann's spirals and asbestos bodies and qualitative modifications (cellular changes and inflammatory infiltrate) in the sputum of 164 traffic police officers and 218 railway workers, occupationally exposed to environmental pollution, and the sputum of 119 inhabitants of a rural area, were evaluated. The results were correlated with time of exposure and smoking habits. Seventy-three (45%) traffic police officers (TPO), 76 (35%) railway workers (RW) and 29 (24%) of the rural population (RP) were smokers. The sputum, collected over a 3-day period, was smeared on glass slides and stained according to the Papanicolaou, Perl and yellow eosin methods. The results of the qualitative cytological diagnosis revealed a statistically significant difference between the TPO, RW and the RP (p < 0.001). The results of the qualitative and quantitative cytological examinations were not significantly correlated to time of occupational exposure, which was considered to be a continuous variable. The qualitative cytological examination of sputa was not statistically significant for the smoking habits of the TPO and the RP, but was significant for the RW (p < 0.0067). In the TPO, the number of dust cells was higher in smokers, and the relative risk (RR) was 3.95. In the RW, the RR was 2.84. The results of our study revealed that for the RW, the qualitative-quantitative cytological alterations in sputum were due much more to smoking habits than to occupational exposure, while the presence of asbestos bodies correlated with work activity. The qualitative-quantitative cytological examinations of the TPO differed significantly from that of the other two populations.