A group of 17 738 working miners, medically examined during 1953-8, were followed up from 1974 to 1980. Of the 7118 men re-examined, 2547 were still working miners and 4526 had left the industry (45 were of unrecorded status). The incidence of progressive massive fibrosis (PMF) over an average follow up period of 22 years among men who had remained in the industry was 27 per 1000, but 94 per 1000 among men who had left. This difference was only partly related to the difference in age between the groups; for men without simple pneumoconiosis at the start of the period, and for similar age groups (45-64), the attack rate in miners was 20 per 1000 and in the ex-miners 41 per 1000. In a group of 1902 leavers who did not have PMF at a medical examination conducted at most four years before leaving, 172 had developed PMF by the time of the follow up examination. Of these, 116 had had simple pneumoconiosis at the earlier examination. Cumulative exposure to respirable dust, category of simple pneumoconiosis, and age were each found to influence the probability of developing PMF in a subgroup of the 1902 men. Among the 1902 leavers, there was no overall progression or regression of simple pneumoconiosis.
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