Two hundred and sixty seven workers employed in the manufacture of silicon carbide (SiC) were examined to determine the effects of exposure to contaminants (SiC, quartz, and SO2) in the workplace on pulmonary function. No exposure concentrations exceeded the current permissible limits. Ten subjects (3.7%) showed rounded opacities (profusion greater than or equal to 1/0). Two subjects employed only in the final stages of the production process and not exposed to crystalline silica showed opacities (profusion q1/0 and q2/1) on x ray film suggesting a role of SiC in the genesis of interstitial lung disease. Chest abnormalities on x ray film were correlated with cumulative exposure to dust and pulmonary function was affected by cumulative dust exposure, profusion of opacities, and smoking. It is concluded that the current standards do not provide adequate protection against pneumoconiosis and chronic pulmonary disease in this industry.
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