Present estimates of the quantitative relations between exposure to mixed respirable coalmine dust and risk of developing coalworkes' simple pneumoconiosis are based on studies of working miners. These studies did not include men who had been miners but had left the coal industry, and it was not known whether the estimates of risk were also appropriate for these men. The results are reported of a study in which the dust/disease relations in men who have been miners but have left the industry have been compared with those in men who have remained in it. A sample of 17738 men who were first examined when working in 24 British collieries in the 1950s has been followed up about 22 years later. It was possible to examine 61% of the survivors, 44% of the original sample. Simple pneumoconiosis was more frequent among men (particularly older men) who had left the industry than among those who had stayed in it. A detailed analysis did not show any systematic or statistically significant difference between men who stayed and men who left in the quantitative relations between dust exposure and simple pneumoconiosis. Present estimates of risk of simple pneumoconiosis in relation to exposure to mixed respirable dust in working miners adequately describe the relation found in men who have been miners but have left the industry.
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