Processing of coir, which is the fibre obtained from the husk of the coconut, is a dusty procedure; 779 workers in two coir processing factories in Sri Lanka were examined clincally and radiographically for evidence of respiratory disease. Respiratory symptoms were present in 20 (2-6%) of them, which is no higher than in the general population. Respiratory disease such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, byssinosis, and pulmonary tuberculosis which may occur from occupational exposures were considered, but there was no evidence to suggest a definite association between these conditions and coir dust. Twenty-two workers had abnormal chest radiographs, but when compared with a control group of 591 workers from an engineering firm where lesions were found in 20 cases, there was no significant difference. In the opinion of the medical officer, management and workers of the large factory investigated, coir dust does not produce any respiratory disability. The chemical composition of coir dust is similar to that of sisal which is also relatively inert.
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