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Acta Med Okayama. 2002 Dec;56(6):303-8.

The current state of workers' pneumoconiosis in relationship to dusty working environments in Okayama Prefecture, Japan.

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Department of Public Health, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine and Dentistry, Okayama 700 8558, Japan.


This study involved the examination of 1,006 chest x-ray films of workers from the industries devoted to shipyard welding, stone grinding, and refractory crushing in southern Okayama prefecture. Of the reviewed films, analysis was focused on subjects with a profusion rate of 0/1 as well as pneumoconiotic subjects (exhibiting profusion rates of 1/0 or greater) in order to discover cases in the beginning stages. One-hundred-and-seventy-four films illustrated a profusion rate of 0/1 or greater, and the proportion of this profusion rate was revealed to be highest in shipyard welders. Even some workers under 40 years of age were found to have already developed pneumoconiosis. Of these 1,006 subjects, 30 volunteers permitted us to measure their personal dust exposure concentrations. The measured concentration of the shipyard welders' dust exposure (respirable dust; 3.3 86.3 mg/m3, total dust; 7.5-117.0 mg/m3) was higher than those of the other 2 industries. Statistical differences among the industries were observed in the respirable dust concentrations. A statistically significant positive correlation was demonstrated between the working duration in dusty environments and the rate of profusion. The present findings suggest the need for taking adequate measures in Okayama in order to prevent workers from developing, or to help retard the progression of, pneumoconiosis.

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