Functional differences between shipbuilding workers with an asbestos exposure in the northwest of the iberian peninsule (Diferencias funcionales entre trabajadores de astilleros expuestos al amianto del noroeste de la Península Ibérica)
Introduction. One of the population with higher exposure to asbestos is composed by shipyard´s workers. Different risks have been theorized according to the type of naval construction, relating higher exposures to military construction. The objective of this research was to evaluate whether there were real differences between former shipbuilding employees of the same region by their previous labour affiliation
Material and methods. A series of patients coming from the specific post-occupational surveillance consultation is presented, with historical working data taking into account their membership, according to shipyard industries, and their spirometry values.
Results. Information on 54 patients was gathered. Those who had been working in a shipyard exclusively dedicated to civil construction showed better results in the functional tests than the rest of the former workers, having a lower drop in the Forced Vital Capacity (FVC) percentage with a minor statistical relevance (p= 0,02), besides the small number of patients in this population.
Conclusions. The results during the respiratory functional tests gathered by the shipyard where the patients had previously worked, specially due to a higher average age (almost ten years higher) in the former workers in civil shipyards, suggest a lower functional damage in this type of naval construction. To our knowledge, this is the first research ever providing such data in a population within the same area.