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September 23, 1961

A Pilot Enquiry into Byssinosis in Two Cotton Mills in the United States

Author Affiliations

Cambridge; London

From the Pneumoconiosis Research Unit, Cardiff and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

JAMA. 1961;177(12):850-853. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.73040380015005

NEARLY 30 years ago, Britten et al.1 and Bloomfield and Dreessen2 surveyed 1,500 male workers employed in a cotton mill in a southern city in the United States. The 400 card-room workers had been exposed to more cotton dust than the spinners and weavers, and had higher disabling sickness rates for both respiratory and nonrespiratory illnesses. Medical examination did not reveal any effects which could be specifically attributed to the dust, but no special enquiry was made into the occurrence of the characteristic symptoms of byssinosis, namely chest tightness and breathlessness, on returning to work after absence.3 The authors concluded that their negative clinical findings were to be expected in view of the low concentrations of dust in the card-rooms. These concentrations, measured with a konimeter, were 290 particles (1-5μ in diameter) per cubic centimeter. In an English mill, in which nearly 40% of the card-room