Silicosis in shipyard sandblasters.
Weill H; Anderson AE; Samimi B; Neilson A; Waggenspack C
Environ Res 1976 Apr; 11(2):237-243
Silicosis in 22 shipyard sandblasters (SIC-3731) was studied by clinical, roentgenographic, and physiologic tests. Seventeen of the workers were from shipyards in New Orleans, Louisiana, and 5 were from Jacksonville, Florida. Half of the total group were dead, with the average age at death being 48.5 years. The average age of the surviving subjects was 43.6 years. Occupational exposure to silica (7631869) averaged 9.7 and 12.4 years for the fatal cases and survivors, respectively. About half of the fatal cases worked without air supplied hoods. Massive lesions were seen on chest roentgenograms in 15 of the subjects. Many of the sandblasters had mycobacterial infections. Rapid deterioration of pulmonary function, as evidenced by chest x-rays, was seen in the patients. The averages of all pulmonary functions of the living subjects were below 80 percent of the normal value. In the fatal cases, reductions for all functions were severe. The terminal picture showed restriction of lung volume with reduction of total lung capacity, vital capacity, and pulmonary diffusing capacity, associated with low air flow rates. Even with protective measures, silica dust concentrations often exceeded the threshold limit value. The authors conclude that fatal sandblasters silicosis follows a rapid course. They suggest that exposure to respirable free silica is still excessive even when a modern air supplied hood is used during blasting. They recommend the monitoring and regulation of free silica exposure in workers.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Silicates; Lung-fibrosis; Industrial-factory-workers; Ionizing-radiation; Clinical-chemistry; Physiological-chemistry; Mortality-rates
Morton M. Ziskind. M.D., Tulane University, 1430 Tulane Avenue New Orleans, LA 70112
Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana