A study of respiratory symptoms and lung function in jute processing workers was conducted. The cohort consisted of 404 persons, 217 males, employed for at least 1 year at a Chinese jute mill. The comparisons consisted of 396 industrial workers, 236 males, from the same city but not exposed to dust or toxicants. The subjects completed a respiratory symptom questionnaire, spirometric testing, industrial hygiene monitoring for total dust, and determination of the chemical composition of the dust. Dust concentrations in the weaving and spinning departments ranged from 1.5 to 48.5mg/m3 and departments occurred in the softening operation. The dust contained 1.6 to 50.9% ash and 1.1 to 14.3% silica (7631869). The jute workers had a significantly higher prevalence of cough, bronchitis, chest tightness, and dyspnea than the comparisons. Smoking male jute workers had a significantly higher prevalence of cough and bronchitis than nonsmoking jute workers. Smoking male comparisons had a significantly higher prevalence of cough than nonsmoking comparisons. The prevalence of abnormal values of forced vital capacity (FVC), 1 second forced expiratory volume (FEV1), and FEV1/FVC ratio in the jute workers was 3.2, 5.4, and 12.9%, respectively. The prevalence rates were significantly higher than in the comparisons. Dust exposure and smoking were significant risk factors for an abnormal FEV1; dust exposure demonstrated the stronger effect. The authors conclude that occupational exposure to jute dust causes a significant increase in respiratory symptoms and prevalence rates of abnormal FVCs, FEV1s, and FEV1/FVC ratios. Smoking has an additive effect on jute induced lung injury.