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Am Rev Respir Dis. 1991 Feb;143(2):301-5.

A ten-year follow-up study of cotton textile workers.

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Andrija Stampar School of Public Health, Zagreb, Yugoslavia.


A follow-up study of respiratory function in cotton textile workers was performed 10 yr after the original cross-sectional study (1975 to 1985). There were 35 nonsmoking female and 31 smoking male textile workers restudied from the original group of 116. The majority of those lost to follow-up had left the industry. The prevalence of byssinosis among the female workers at the time of follow-up was 15/35 (42.9%) compared with 8/35 (22.9%) at the time of the initial study (p = 0.063). For men the byssinosis prevalence at follow-up was 16/31 (51.6%) compared with 8/31 (22.9%) at the time of the initial study (p = 0.03). Similarly, the prevalence of almost all other respiratory symptoms was significantly higher at the follow-up than at the time of the initial study. Significant across-shift decrements in FEV1 and FVC were documented at both surveys. The mean annual decline in ventilatory capacity was greater than expected for both female (FVC: -0.036 +/- 0.005 L/yr; FEV1: -0.059 +/- 0.009 L/yr) and male workers (FVC: -0.059 +/- 0.008 L/yr; FEV1: -0.068 +/- 0.006 L/yr) (Mean +/- SE). The mean total airborne dust concentration measured at the time of the follow-up study was 3.95 mg/m3 with an average respirable dust concentration of 0.97 mg/m3. We conclude that continued exposure to high dust concentrations in the cotton textile industry is associated with an increasing prevalence of respiratory symptoms and progressive impairment of lung function. The increase in respiratory impairment was seen both in smokers and nonsmokers.

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