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Chronic exposure to iron oxide, chromium oxide, and nickel oxide fumes of metal dressers in a steelworks
  1. J. Graham Jones,
  2. C. G. Warner
  1. British Steel Corporation, Strip Mills Division Headquarters, Gabalfa, Cardiff


    Graham Jones, J., and Warner, C. G. (1972).Brit. J. industr. Med.,29, 169-177. Chronic exposure to iron oxide, chromium oxide, and nickel oxide fumes of metal dressers in a steelworks. Occupational and medical histories, smoking habits, respiratory symptoms, chest radiographs, and ventilatory capacities were studied in 14 steelworkers employed as deseamers of steel ingots for periods of up to 16 years. The men were exposed for approximately five hours of each working shift to fume concentrations ranging from 1·3 to 294·1 mg/m3 made up mainly of iron oxide with varying proportions of chromium oxide and nickel oxide.

    Four of the men, with 14 to 16 years' exposure, showed radiological evidence of pneumoconiosis classified as ILO categories 2 or 3. Of these, two had pulmonary function within the normal range and two had measurable loss of function, moderate in one case and mild in the other.

    Many observers would diagnose these cases as siderosis but the authors consider that this term should be reserved for cases exposed to pure iron compounds. The correct diagnosis is mixed-dust pneumoconiosis and the loss of pulmonary function is caused by the effects of the mixture of metallic oxides. It is probable that inhalation of pure iron oxide does not cause fibrotic pulmonary changes, whereas the inhalation of iron oxide plus certain other substances obviously does.

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