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Silicosis in a grey iron foundry. The persistence of an ancient disease.
Landrigan PJ; Cherniack MG; Lewis FA; Catlett LR; Hornung RW
Scand J Work Environ Health 1986 Feb; 12(1):32-39
The occurrence of silicosis was studied in a grey iron (7439896) foundry. Past worker exposures were estimated from industrial hygiene data. Current exposures were evaluated by the collection of breathing zone samples for the determination of respirable crystalline silica (7631869). Workers were divided according to presumed exposure into high, moderate and low exposure categories. Chest X-rays of workers in all three categories were read for pneumoconiotic lesions. Respiratory questionnaires were given to the workers to define symptoms and smoking habits. Pulmonary function was evaluated with standard tests. In 1977 the geometric mean breathing zone exposure was estimated at 1,045 micrograms per cubic meter (microg/m3) for core makers and 198microg/m3 for fettlers. Subsequent exposures were generally lower. Chest X-rays showed silicosis in 9.6 percent of the workers. Two of the 18 workers with silicosis had progressive massive fibrosis. The prevalence of silicosis increased with exposure, from 1.5 percent for those employed less than 20 years to 53 percent among those employed more than 20 years. The prevalence of silicosis was not influenced by cigarette smoking. Chronic cough was more common among those with the current heaviest exposures. There was an association between smoking and the etiology of cough. The authors conclude that silicosis continues to exist in factories in the United States. While smoking does not appear to contribute to the cause of silicosis, it worsens the accompanying respiratory symptoms.
NIOSH-Author; Industrial-exposures; Sampling-methods; Clinical-symptoms; Workplace-studies; Breathing-zone; Environmental-factors; Exposure-limits; Respiratory-irritants; Health-hazards; Occupational-hazards; Author Keywords: occupational disease; pulmonary function
Dr PJ Landrigan, Division of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Department of Community Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 1 Gustave L Levy Place, New York, NY 10029, USA
Issue of Publication
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division