Histological slides from the lungs of 89 dead asbestos cement workers have been examined with respect to ferruginous bodies and fibrosis. The results have been compared with individually matched controls with no known exposure to asbestos, and related to asbestos exposure, expressed as duration of exposure and cumulative asbestos dose, and smoking habits. The asbestos cement workers studied had been employed for on average 15 years, with a mean cumulative dose of 26 fibre-years per ml (f-y/ml). Clear dose-response relations between exposure (duration of exposure and cumulative asbestos dose) and level of ferruginous bodies were found. An association was evident already at a low cumulative dose (1-10 f-y/ml). Fibrosis was more common and more pronounced among the exposed workers than among controls. An association between ferruginous bodies and fibrosis was also found. Among the controls, but not among exposed workers, there was an association between smoking history and fibrosis.
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