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J R Soc Med. 1980 May; 73(5): 337–344.
PMCID: PMC1437459

Royal Naval dockyards asbestosis research project: nine-year follow-up study of men exposed to asbestos in Devonport Dockyard1


Progression of asbestos-related disease was assessed in a group of 253 dockyard workers examined in 1966 and 1975. Despite the almost complete protection from exposure to asbestos since 1966, radiographic parenchymal abnormalities increased and occurred more frequently during the next 9 years in those men who had been more heavily exposed to asbestos. Lung function values were lower in those most heavily exposed and were declining at a faster rate than in those with less dust exposure. The most sensitive lung function index was the transfer factor.

Those men with persistent crackles in 1966 exhibited a restrictive pattern of lung function, whereas an obstructive pattern was seen in men with wheezes in 1966. The men with irregular small opacities of category 1/1 or more or with diffuse pleural change in 1966 and who survived to 1975 had worse lung functions than any other groups.

Progression of disease was greater for smokers than non-smokers, with those who gave up smoking between 1966 and 1975 suffering the greatest changes. This latter group showed most increase in small opacities and included almost all new cases of diffuse pleural changes. They also showed the greatest declines in forced expiratory volume and forced vital capacity.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Becklake MR, Fournier-Massey G, McDonald JC, Siemiatycki J, Rossiter CE. Lung function in relation to chest radiographic changes in Quebec asbestos workers. I. Methods, results and conclusions. Bull Physiopathol Respir (Nancy) 1970 Jul-Sep;6(3):637–659. [PubMed]
  • Elmes PC. The epidemiology and clinical features of asbestosis and related diseases. Postgrad Med J. 1966 Oct;42(492):623–635. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Harries PG. Asbestos dust concentrations in ship repairing: a practical approach to improving asbestos hygiene in naval dockyards. Ann Occup Hyg. 1971 Sep;14(3):241–254. [PubMed]
  • Rossiter CE, Harries PG. UK Naval Dockyards asbestosis study: survey of the sample population aged 50-59 years. Br J Ind Med. 1979 Nov;36(4):281–291. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Selikoff IJ, Churg J, Hammond EC. The occurrence of asbestosis among insulation workers in the United States. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1965 Dec 31;132(1):139–155. [PubMed]
  • Sheers G, Templeton AR. Effects of asbestos in dockyard workers. Br Med J. 1968 Sep 7;3(5618):574–579. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press