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Chronic Bronchitis in Miners and Non-miners: An Epidemiological Survey of a Community in the Gold-mining Area in the Transvaal
  1. G. K. Sluis-Cremer,
  2. L. G. Walters,
  3. H. S. Sichel
  1. aMiners' Medical Bureau, the Pneumoconiosis Research Unit and the Operational Reasearch Bureau, Johannesberg


    An epidemiological survey to determine the prevalence of chronic bronchitis in a mixed mining and non-mining population of Carletonville on the Witwatersrand is described. Eight hundred and twenty-seven men over the age of 35 years were investigated.

    Chronic bronchitis is shown to significantly more common in miners than in non-miners for every age and smoking category with the exception of the non-smoker no significant difference exists in the prevalence of chronic bronchitis between the mining and non-mining groups.

    Smoking habits were found to have overwhelming effects on the prevalence of chronic bronchitis in both groups.

    It is suggested that a synergistic interplay of smoking and general underground aerial pollution (rather than dust inhalation alone) is responsible for the excess prevalence of chronic bronchitis in the miner who smokes.

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    • 1 This study was carried out under the auspices of the Pneumoconiosis Research Unit of the South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.