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Relationships between dust level and byssinosis and bronchitis in Lancashire cotton mills
  1. G. Berry1,
  2. M. K. B. Molyneux2*,
  3. J. B. L. Tombleson3
  1. 1Medical Research Council's Pneumoconiosis Unit, Penarth, Glamorgan
  2. 2Department of Occupational Health, University of Manchester
  3. 3HM Medical Inspectorate of Factories

    Abstract

    Berry, G., Molyneux, M. K. B., and Tombleson, J. B. L. (1974). British Journal of Industrial Medicine,31, 18-27. Relationships between dust level and byssinosis and bronchitis in Lancashire cotton mills. A prospective survey of workers in 14 cotton and two man-made fibre spinning mills was carried out. A questionnaire on respiratory symptoms was completed at the start of the survey by 1 359 cotton workers and 227 workers in man-made fibre mills and again two years later by about half of these workers. Dust measurements were available for 772 women and 234 men cotton workers.

    The prevalence of bronchitis was found to be unrelated to dust level but for women was related to years of exposure. The change in symptoms of bronchitis was unrelated to dust level or to length of exposure. There was, however, an increased prevalence of bronchitis in the cotton mills when compared with the man-made fibre mills, and also over the two-year period a greater proportion of symptom-free workers developed symptoms and a lower proportion of those with symptoms lost their symptoms in the cotton mills than in the man-made fibre mills.

    The prevalence of byssinosis was related to smoking habits, the smokers having about 1·4 times as much byssinosis as the non- and ex-smokers after allowing for exposure. Byssinosis was associated with the dust level and years of exposure, more so for the women, and an association between the incidence of new cases over the two years and dust level was also found. After allowing for dust level, years of exposure, and smoking there were still differences between the occupational groups in byssinosis prevalence. Strippers and grinders had the highest prevalence followed by drawframe tenters. Speedframe tenters, card tenters, and comber tenters had similar prevalences and ring spinners the lowest.

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    Footnotes

    • * Present address: Department of Social and Occupational Medicine, University of Dundee.

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