The results are given of environmental and clinical investigations in four card rooms where one of the latest systems of exhaust ventilation to control dust has been installed. The concentration of air-borne coarse dust particles, larger than 2 mm., was reduced by between 80% and 90% around the carding engines. The card rooms consequently looked less dusty. However, the concentrations of medium and fine sized dust particles were not always reduced and were actually increased in some places. In one mill, when the new control system had been running for three years, there was found to be no reduction in the prevalence of non-specific chest symptoms, and there was an increase in the number of those with chest tightness on Mondays, a symptom characteristic of byssinosis. Evidence is given of a similar failure to reduce the dust sufficiently in three other mills where the same exhaust system is installed.
There is an urgent need to extend the limited investigations reported here to a larger number of mills. Meanwhile there is a continuing morbidity and mortality from byssinosis. Until work in card rooms has been made safe and proved to be so, it is necessary to have regular measurement of dust conditions and for the workers to have periodical medical examinations to enable managements to be advised about the hazards in their mills and advice to be given to the individuals affected by the dust.
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