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December 19, 1936

Investigations on Respiratory Dust Disease in Operatives in the Cotton Industry

JAMA. 1936;107(25):2077-2078. doi:10.1001/jama.1936.02770510067030

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A few decades ago the terms "byssinosis" and "byssophthisis" found their way with fair frequency into discussions of dusty lung diseases. The concept then was that cotton dusts produce in workers a lung disease analogous to silicosis. Greater experience has proved that little is shared in common by cotton and silica dusts. Nevertheless, morbidity statistics continually present an abnormal incidence of pulmonary diseases among cotton workers. Tuberculosis, bronchitis and asthma stigmatize these mill workers. In the United States a satisfying but perhaps erroneous explanation was found in the cotton worker's low standards of living, his poor housing, low wages, fatigue producing work, and high humidity in work rooms. In England, physicians and hygienists have persisted in the belief that cotton dust itself or some component is the direct source of "mill fever" and remotely the source of more severe disorders. At one time histamine, a constituent of cotton dust, was

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