Altogether 238 759 miners employed by the National Coal Board were examined in the third of the Board's radiological surveys from 1969 to 1973 inclusive. Excluding those diagnosed as having progressive massive fibrosis (PMF) on that occasion, 210 847 were in collieries still operating at the time of the fourth survey four to five years later 132 728 attended for radiography at the same colliery on the second occasion, and were used to study the attack rate of PMF. In all groups in the age range 35-54 and having category 2 simple pneumoconiosis (SPN) or less, 80% or more had a second radiograph. It was found that the probability of developing PMF increased sharply with rising category of SPN; however, half the cases occurred in men having SPN categories 0 or 1, who were in the majority. Current coalface work had no significant effect on the attack rate. Age increased the attack rate of PMF within each major SPN category (0, 1, 2, and 3), especially the higher categories. All or part of this effect may have been due to the fact that SPN in younger men with categories 1 and 2 tends to lie in the lower range within these categories. Similarly, a lower distribution of SPN within each category associated with a low overall local prevalence may account wholly or in part for the great difference between the attack rates of PMF supervening on each category of SPN in Scotland and South Wales. The rank (quality) of coal mined had no effect on the attack rate.
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