Žuškin, E., and Valíc, F. (1973).British Journal of Industrial Medicine,30, 375-380. Respiratory response in simultaneous exposure to flax and hemp dust. The effect of exposure to high concentrations of mixtures of hemp and flax dust was studied in 124 workers in two textile mills (mill A: 65-70% hemp and the rest flax, mean dust concentration 13·9 mg/m3; and mill B: about 35% hemp and the rest flax, mean dust concentration 15·8 mg/m3). A high prevalence of byssinosis was found in both mills (80% in mill B; 46·8% in mill A) after a mean exposure of no more than 13 years. In both mills, byssinotics had a higher prevalence of all chronic respiratory symptoms than non-byssinotics. This difference was more pronounced in mill A. Forty-eight percent of byssinotic women and 43% of byssinotic men had byssinosis of grade 2 or 3. Significant mean acute reductions in FEV1·0 and ˙Vmax 50% VC on Monday were recorded in subjects with and without byssinosis with a significantly larger mean reduction in byssinotics (FEV1·0, P < 0·01; ˙Vmax 50% VC, P < 0·05). ˙Vmax 50% VC proved to be a more sensitive test for detecting acute effects of vegetable dust than FEV1·0. The acute respiratory response of the subjects exposed to similar concentrations of flax and mixtures of two different proportions of flax and hemp dust was found to be equal.
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