In the period 1966-82 lungs from 333 workers who had been employed at a Royal Naval dockyard were referred to the MRC Pneumoconiosis Unit where they were investigated for the severity of asbestosis, the presence of tumours, and an assessment of mineral fibre content and the type and amount of mineral present. The occupational exposure to mineral dust has been coded for 189 of these cases. There is good correlation between the severity of asbestosis and the coded exposures, electron microscopic mineral fibre count, and the fibre count as seen under the light microscope. The information collected showed that mesotheliomas occurred in those who had had minimal or slight asbestosis, by contrast with the pulmonary carcinomas found in those with moderate to severe asbestosis. The amphibole (crocidolite and amosite) lung content correlated with severity of asbestosis.
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