The environment and health of a working population exposed simultaneously to jute and hemp were studied. Classical symptoms of byssinosis were not present but 21 workers (7%) complained of atypical tightness of the chest. The prevalence of chronic bronchitis among the exposed workers was statistically significant in comparison with controls. Effects of dust concentrations, age and duration of exposure on the prevalence of chronic bronchitis were studied. A statistically significant reduction in FEV1.0 at the end of a work shift occurred in all the exposed workers. Bronchodilators given after the shift showed that acute reductions in forced expiratory volumes were nearly fully reversible in all exposed workers. Smokers and those with chronic bronchitis had greater reductions in FEV1.0 values at the end of the work shift.
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