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Byssinosis: matter from lint to lungs.
Kilburn KH; Kilburn GG; Merchant JA
Am J Nurs 1973 Nov; 73(11):1952-1958
The incidence of byssinosis was studied among 2,967 cotton and other textile workers. Subjects completed questionnaires about respiratory symptoms, and were tested for forced expiratory volume and forced vital capacity before and after 6 hours at work on Monday. Respirable dust was sampled in major work areas using a vertical elutriator. Data on 1,046 female workers was examined to determine the effects of cotton exposure and smoking on rates of byssinosis and chronic bronchitis. Various treatments of cotton were assessed for their ability to lower respirable dust concentrations and the biological response of 12 sensitized subjects. Workers in cotton preparation areas reported the most symptoms and showed greatest decreases in expiratory flow; 40 percent of preparation workers in one cotton mill were diagnosed as byssinotic. Cotton yarn production workers had about 50 percent of the incidence of preparation workers, while only 6 to 7 percent of cotton weavers were affected. Dust concentrations were linearly related to respiratory symptoms, decreases in forced expiratory volume, and prevalence of chronic bronchitis. Even at respirable dust concentrations of 0.1 milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3) of air, 6.5 percent of cotton workers had symptoms. Compared to nonsmoking workers in cotton/synthetic blends, cotton workers who smoked had over 4 times the risk of developing byssinosis and over 5 times the risk of developing chronic bronchitis. Washing or steaming cotton was effective in reducing biological effects and lowering dust concentrations, while dry heat treatment increased biological effects. The authors recommend the enforcement of a threshold limit value of 0.1 to 0.2mg/m3 respirable dust in cotton textile mills.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Grant; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Disease-incidence; Lung-irritants; Worker-health; Biological-effects; Dust-exposure; Clinical-symptoms; Industrial-medicine; Dust-inhalation; Clinical-diagnosis
Medicine University of Missouri N424 Medical Center Columbia, MO 65201
Issue of Publication
The American Journal of Nursing
University of Missouri Columbia, Columbia, Missouri
Page last reviewed: November 6, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division