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May 20, 1939


JAMA. 1939;112(20):2067-2068. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800200065016

Asbestosis, a definite form of pneumoconiosis, is now generally recognized as an industrial hazard. The first fatal case of asbestosis was apparently described in 1900 by Montague Murray in the Charing Cross Hospital Gazette. Cooke's1 short note in 1924 on the case of a woman dying of asbestosis, and a later paper published in 1927, established asbestosis as a distinct variety of pneumoconiosis.

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that can be carded, spun and woven. It is a silicate associated most commonly with chrome iron and magnetite. Microscopically asbestos fiber, according to Cooke, is seen to consist of two elements: the bulk of the fiber is translucent and glistening, with here and there black, opaque, angular particles and minute black granules. The dust generated during manufacture consists of these sharp, angular particles and minute granules. Analysis of the dust reveals that the latter are the ironcontaining portions of asbestos.