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Original Articles

Dry cleaning industry in the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka: a preliminary study of chemicals used and possible health effects

Authors:

Kantha Nirmali Lankatilake ,

University of Colombo, LK
About Kantha Nirmali
Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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Dellabada Batawalage Dulani Samaranayake,

University of Colombo, LK
About Dellabada Batawalage Dulani
Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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Helani Sineka Ranasooriya

University of Colombo, LK
About Helani Sineka
Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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Abstract

Introduction

This study was conducted to assess the occupational health and safety of workers of dry cleaning industry in Colombo.

 

Method

A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in 24 dry-cleaners from 15 randomly selected dry cleaning establishments in Colombo Municipal area. A group of 24 shop workers from the same area comparable with respect to age, marital status, educational level and duration of service, served as a comparison group. A structured observational schedule and an interviewer administered questionnaire were used to collect data.

 

Results

Fourteen (93.3%) establishments used Perchloroethylene (PERC). Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) were not available in 80% and storage was unsatisfactory in 60%. Fire safety (100%), lighting (100%) and ventilation (73.3%) were satisfactory in a majority while thermal environment (73.3%) and noise levels (100%) were unsatisfactory. Except for clothing (53.5%), welfare facilities were satisfactory in a majority (86.7%) of establishments. Among the workers, irritation of skin (p=0.000), eyes including tearing (p=0.004) and sneezing (p=0.032) were significantly higher than controls. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) were provided for 14 (58.33%) workers and only 5 (35.71%) used them.

 

Conclusion

Acute symptoms related to chemical exposure were significantly higher among workers in dry cleaning industry. Overall work environment in these establishments was unsatisfactory.
How to Cite: Lankatilake, K.N., Samaranayake, D.B.D. and Ranasooriya, H.S., 2017. Dry cleaning industry in the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka: a preliminary study of chemicals used and possible health effects. Ceylon Journal of Medical Science, 54(2), pp.24–30. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cjms.v54i2.4826
Published on 27 Dec 2017.
Peer Reviewed

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