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Respiratory morbidity among workers in an amosite asbestos insulation plant.

Johnson-WM; Lemen-RA; Hurst-GA; Spiegel-RM; Liu-FH
J Occup Med 1982 Dec; 24(12):994-999
Asbestos (1332214) related respiratory morbidity was investigated at a facility using amosite (12172735) asbestos to manufacture thermal pipe insulation. Airborne fiber concentrations were obtained by personal breathing zone sampling. Chest X-rays and pulmonary function studies were performed on 50 workers with more than 1 year of employment. Respiratory and occupational history questionnaires were administered and workers were examined for rales and finger clubbing. Personnel records were reviewed and total duration of exposure to amosite was calculated for all employees hired after 1954 with more than 1 year of employment. Mean air samples ranged from 74.4 fibers greater than 5 micrometers in length per cubic centimeter (cc) to 14.4 fibers/cc at different operations in the facility. Among workers with less than 10 years of employment, only one had grade 2 dyspnea and two had basilar rales. Two of 8 individuals with 5 to 9 years of employment and 7 of 18 individuals with 10 or more years of employment had pleural thickening; pleural calcification was present in 1 of 18 individuals with 10 or more years of exposure. A diagnosis of asbestosis was given to workers meeting three of these five criteria: grade 2 dyspnea, finger clubbing, persistent basilar rales, a forced vital capacity of less than 80 percent of predicted value, and a roentgenogram interpreted as a profusion of small opacities. On this basis, 7 of 18 workers with 10 or more years of employment were diagnosed as having asbestosis. No workers with less than 10 years of employment met three of the criteria. The authors conclude that potential health problems can be expected for employees and their families.
JOCMA7; NIOSH-Author; Dust-exposure; Respiration; Air-sampling; Employee-exposure; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Respiratory-system-disorders; Air-sampling; Dust-inhalation; Respiratory-irritants
1332-21-4; 12172-73-5
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Journal Article
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Pulmonary-system-disorders; Respiratory-system-disorders
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Journal of Occupational Medicine