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Dust and Fibrosis in the Lungs of Coal-Workers from the Wigan Area of Lancashire
  1. R. Spink*,
  2. G. Nagelschmidt
  1. Department of Pathology, Wigan Royal Infirmary, Sheffield
  2. The Ministry of Power, Safety in Mines Research Establishment, Sheffield


    During the years 1953 to 1957 more than 1,000 lungs of coal-workers in the Wigan area were examined and compared with lungs from workers in South Wales. The Wigan lungs in general appeared to be less dusty and progressive massive fibrosis less frequent than in the South Wales lungs. Also, the more advanced cases of progressive massive fibrosis appeared to be of a silicotic type.

    Of these lungs, 100 were selected for study of the relation of the type and severity of pneumoconiosis to right ventricular hypertrophy, using Gough-Wentworth sections. The remaining tissues from 47 of these lungs were used for an analysis of the content and composition of the dust and its relation to the grade of fibrosis. The average coal and quartz percentages of the dust from the lungs in the Wigan area were similar to previous findings in lungs from the Cumberland coalfield but differed from those in South Wales where the lung dust has a higher coal and a lower quartz percentage. Two possible explanations for this finding are discussed.

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    • * Present address: Department of Bacteriology, Western Infirmary, Glasgow.