Evaluation of Darkroom Disease Symptoms among Radiographers in the West Bank Hospitals, Palestine.

Discussion Committee: 
Dr. Hamzeh Al Zabadi (Supervisor)
Dr. Nuha El Sharif (External Examiner)
Dr. Zaher Nazzal (Internal Examiner)
Dr. Abdel Nasser A'si (Internal Examiner)
Dr. Hamzeh Al Zabadi (Supervisor)
Yaser Mahmoud Nazzal
Background: Radiographers are exposed to certain chemicals when using chemical solutions which might lead to some health adverse effects. Nevertheless, radiographers report many unexplained work related symptoms attributed to “darkroom disease symptoms”. The aim of the present study was to assess the prevalence of occupationally-related darkroom disease symptoms among male radiographers compared to male nurses in West Bank hospitals. Materials and Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted on a non-random purposive sample of male radiographers and nurses using a previously validated and standardized face-to-face questionnaire. The study was conducted in the governmental and non-governmental hospitals in the West Bank. Those with physician diagnosed asthma before starting their current occupation were excluded. Results: We were able to recruit 572 male participants from both groups. The radiographers were 330 subjects (57.7% of all population) while nurses were 242 (42.3% of all population). Data analysis showed both groups aged between (36-43) years old (28%). There were no statistically significant differences between radiographers and nurses regarding age and marital status (P values > 0.05). Furthermore, the differences in the reported prevalence of symptoms among radiographers showed a statistically significant higher proportion for each reported symptom compared to nurses (P-values=0.001). The most significant symptoms measured in the radiographers were headache (75.8%), sneezing/nose itchy (70.9%), irritation of throat (69.1%), and chemical taste (61.2%). In multivariate linear regression analysis, monthly income was a significant predictor for the mean number of symptoms with a positive association among radiographers [P-value, B (95%CI)] [0.001, 2.35 (0.96-3.74)]. Furthermore, living in a village [0.03, 1.15 (0.12-2.19)], reporting living in an industrial area (yes) [0.03, 5.63 (3.39-7.86)]. Regarding occupational factors, staying more than 30 minutes in the darkroom per shift was associated with a significant increase in the mean number of reported symptoms [0.001, 3.28 (2.06-4.51)]. However, the availability of a ventilating machine in the darkroom showed a strong negative association with the mean number of reported symptoms [0.001, -1.98 (-3.05- -0.91)]. Conclusions: Radiographers showed an increase in the prevalence of certain symptoms representing the darkroom disease. Developing clear diagnostic criteria, educating radiology workers about potential hazards and prevention techniques should form a crucial constituent of their training. We recommend further future studies in the Palestinian hospital X-rays departments in order to correlate the reported symptoms with the exposed chemicals more appropriately. We also recommend following radiographic workers in the future to provide further understanding to the role played by darkrooms and their chemicals in the etiology of these symptoms.
Full Text: 
Pages Count: