Previous knowledge of silicosis in the Swedish granite industry suggested that the disease was neither common nor severe. In recent years, however, changes in working methods have involved a considerably increased formation of dust, and it was considered likely that the risk of contracting silicosis was increased. Reports from other countries supported this conjecture.
The 34 known cases of silicosis caused by quarrying and working of granite in Sweden were therefore reviewed. The mean duration of exposure to siliceous dust when stage I silicosis was diagnosed was 32 years, and the mean age at diagnosis was 55 years. Despite the relatively long `prediagnosis' exposure to dust, the disease showed a pronounced tendency to progression, and six cases were complicated by pulmonary tuberculosis. Eighty per cent of the men were awarded disablement benefit because of their pulmonary lesions, and four men died from silicosis alone or in combination with tuberculosis.
In Swedish granite works there is room for considerable improvement in dust suppression. Careful checks of such preventive measures and periodic medical examination of exposed persons are strongly advocated.
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