After assessment of radiographs taken in 1966, 201 men employed at HM Dockyard, Devonport, were judged to have pleural abnormalities due to exposure to asbestos but to be free from small opacities (ILO U/C 1971 category 1/1 or more), mesothelioma, or bronchial carcinoma. By 1976, 32 of these men had died. Of the survivors, 155 were re-examined to determine the attack rates of parenchymal fibrosis or malignant disease, or both. In 1976, 16 (10.3%) of the survivors had radiographs showing small opacities of category 1/1 or more. When additional clinical criteria had to be satisfied before a diagnosis of parenchymal fibrosis was made the attack rate in the survivors was 4.5%. These attack rates were substantially higher than those observed in a sample of men with no initial pleural abnormality but were unrelated to age, smoking habit, occupation, duration of exposure to asbestos, or type of pleural abnormality. The number of cases of malignant disease was too small to allow any reliable conclusions.
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