The mortality of workers employed at a factory producing friction materials has been studied from 1941 to 1986, extending a previous study by seven years. Apart from two periods before 1944, when crocidolite asbestos was used on one particular contract, only chrysotile asbestos has been used. Thirteen deaths were attributed to mesothelioma and of these, 11 were of subjects who had known contact with crocidolite asbestos. Of the remaining two, in one instance the diagnosis is uncertain and in the other the occupational history of the subject is not well established. There was no excess of deaths from lung cancer or other asbestos related tumours, or from chronic respiratory disease. After 1950 hygienic control was progressively improved and from 1970 levels of asbestos in air have not exceeded 0.5-1.0 f/ml. It is concluded that with good environmental control chrysotile asbestos may be used in manufacture without causing excess mortality.
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