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Prevalence of Pneumoconiosis in Cornish Kaolin Workers
  1. Geoffrey Sheers
  1. Plymouth and District Hospital Group


    In 1961, 553 Cornish china clay workers had been exposed to kaolin dust for periods exceeding five years, and evidence of kaolinosis was seen in 48 (9%). No kaolinosis was found in men who had been exposed for less than five years. Workers in the more heavily exposed jobs of milling, bagging, and loading showed a prevalence rising from 6% in those with between five and 15 years' exposure to 23% in those exposed for more than 15 years. Men who had been intermittently and less heavily exposed in the older, out-dated drying plants needed 25 years' exposure before reaching the highest prevalence of 17%.

    Massive fibrosis has been observed in two cases in the industry and also in two men who have left the industry. Six men needed anti-tuberculous chemotherapy, but none had a positive sputum. Preventive measures now include pre-employment chest examination, but the problems of dust control have not yet been satisfactorily solved.

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