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Effects of low concentrations of asbestos. Clinical, environmental, radiologic and epidemiologic observations in shipyard coverers and controls.
Murphy-RLH Jr.; Ferris-BG Jr.; Burgess-WA; Worcester-J; Gaensler-EA
N Engl J Med 1971 Dec; 285(23):1271-1278
The effects of chronic low concentration exposure to asbestos (1332214) on health were evaluated in pipe coverers (SIC-1799) in the ship construction field (SIC-3731). A total of 101 pipe coverers employed in a New England shipyard were evaluated according to information gathered on: past medical history; physical examination; spirometry; roentgenologic examination; and other tests to check the prevalence of other disease such as tuberculosis or bronchitis. Results were compared with those obtained from 94 comparisons. Measurements were also taken of dust concentrations in the workplace. Results were analyzed in terms of age, height, weight, and duration of employment. More than 20 percent of the pipe coverers had at least one respiratory symptom, including coughing, phlegm, wheezing, breathlessness, shortness of breath, heart trouble, or high blood pressure. A larger percentage of pipe coverers than comparisons had these symptoms. Over 50 percent of the pipe coverers had questionable or slight asbestosis, while almost 13 percent had advanced cases. A total of 42 percent of the comparisons had conditions ranging from questionable asbestosis to moderately advanced asbestosis; no advanced cases of asbestosis were found among comparisons. The authors conclude that exposure to low concentrations of asbestos can result in pulmonary fibrosis.
Exposure-limits; Dust-exposure; Air-monitoring; Respiration; Ventilation; Emission-sources; Quantitative-analysis; Skin; Sensitivity-testing
Kresge Ctr for Environ Health 665 Huntington Avenue Boston, Mass 02115 Boston, Mass 02115
Issue of Publication
New England Journal of Medicine
Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division