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1.  Comparative study of the smooth muscle contractor activity of airborne dusts and of dustiness in cotton, flax, and jute mills. 
A bioassay technique using isolated guinea-pig ileum was employed to compare the smooth muscle contractor activity of various dusts from mills in which the prevalence of byssinosis was known. The activity of dust from a mill spinning a coarse grade of cotton was several times greater than that in dust from a mill processing a fine grade of cotton. There was a similar order in the difference of the prevalence of byssinosis in these mills. However, the activities of fine cotton, flax, and jute dusts were very similar to each other, in spite of marked differences in the prevalence of byssinosis in these mills. For cotton dust, smooth muscle contractor activity was associated with all particle sizes, although the lowest level of activity was found in the largest sized fraction (less than 2 mm). Activity in the cotton dust extracts was not correlated with nitrogen, carbohydrate, or potassium content. However, about one-fifth of the activity of a cotton dust extract was associated with an insoluble particulate fraction. The possible chemical nature of the water-soluble contractor agent is discussed. It is concluded that, until the role of this agent in the pathogenesis of byssinosis has been established, the bioassay technique cannot be employed as a means of assessing the byssinogenic potential of cotton dust.
PMCID: PMC1008078  PMID: 1201255
2.  The Pharmacological Activity of Extracts of Cotton Dust 
Aqueous extracts prepared from dust collected in the card-rooms of several cotton mills have been prepared and found to contain activity which contracts the smooth muscle of guinea-pig ileum, guinea-pig trachea, rat stomach strip, and rat duodenum. The extracts contained an unknown contractor substance which was dialysable, resistant to boiling for one hour, and not destroyed by the action of proteolytic enzymes. They also contained a small amount of 5-hydroxytryptamine. One of the dust samples also contained histamine, but it could not be detected in the other samples, one of which was known to possess bronchoconstrictor properties in man. The particulate material, even after repeated washing, was found to have some stimulant action on guinea-pig ileum.
There was no evidence for the release of histamine by the extracts in either cats or guinea-pigs, although a very small amount was released in rats. Jute dust is much less active than cotton dust, and the activity differs qualitatively. Cotton dust extracts were found to have pyrogenic activity but it is unlikely that pyrogens were responsible for the smooth-muscle contractor properties. Experiments with whole animals suggest that although smooth-muscle contracting substances were present in the extracts, it is possible that the symptoms of byssinosis are caused by the release of some other active bronchoconstrictor substance in the tissues. The mechanism of the release is not known; it may be caused by a soluble principle in the extract or due to the presence of particulate matter in the dust.
PMCID: PMC1038127  PMID: 13883719
3.  Some Pharmacological Actions of Cotton Dust and Other Vegetable Dusts 
Aqueous extracts of cotton and other vegetable dusts cause contraction of the isolated ileum and tracheal muscle of the guinea-pig, and of isolated human bronchial muscle. The levels of this contractor activity place the dusts of cotton, flax, and jute in the order of the probable incidence of byssinosis occurring in the mills spinning these fibres.
Extracts of cotton dust possess a histamine-liberating activity and contain a permeability-increasing component. These actions are of plant origin and are found in the pericarp and bracts of the cotton boll. Histamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine have also been found in some cotton dust samples. The formation of histamine by bacterial action in cotton dust does not take place under conditions found in cotton mills. The smooth muscle contractor substance is organic in nature, relatively heat-stable, and dialysable. The relevance of these results to the symptoms of byssinosis is discussed.
PMCID: PMC1038128  PMID: 14479451
The prevalence of byssinosis and chronic respiratory symptoms was studied in 117 workers in four Swedish cotton mills. Changes of forced expiratory volume in 0·75 sec. (F.E.V.0·75) during a Monday and a Wednesday were assessed in 64 male workers in four cardrooms in these mills. Dust sampling was performed with weighed millipore filters.
Prevalences of byssinosis as judged from the workers' histories were 68%, 55%, 44%, and 25% in the four mills; the lowest prevalence of 25% was found in a mill spinning both high grade cotton yarn and rayon. Among 67 workers in the mills having a byssinosis prevalence of 68% and 55%, 60% were non-smokers, 70% had chronic cough, and 27% had chronic dyspnoea. The F.E.V.0·75 decreased on Monday in workers who gave a history of Monday dyspnoea, and to a lesser degree, but still significantly, in those who did not.
In spite of marked differences in fine dust (i.e., dust smaller than 2 mm. diameter) concentrations in the four cardrooms, no significant relations between dust content, byssinosis prevalence, and F.E.V.0·75 changes on Monday could be demonstrated.
The prevention and treatment of byssinosis is discussed. Workers at risk should receive a periodical medical examination including at least a spirographical pulmonary function test at intervals of one year or less.
PMCID: PMC1008256  PMID: 14278797
5.  A study of the acute and chronic changes in ventilatory capacity of workers in Lancashire cotton mills 
Berry, G., McKerrow, C. B., Molyneux, M. K. B., Rossiter, C. E., and Tombleson, J. B. L. (1973).Brit. J. industr. Med.,30, 25-36. A study of the acute and chronic changes in ventilatory capacity of workers in Lancashire cotton mills. A prospective study of workers in 14 cotton and two man-made fibre spinning mills in Lancashire was carried out over a three-year period. A questionnaire on respiratory symptoms was completed at the start of the survey and again two years later. Up to six measurements of ventilatory capacity were made at six-monthly intervals. From these measurements the rate at which the forced expiratory volume (FEV1) was declining (annual decline in FEV) was evaluated for 595 subjects. Six of the mills were visited on Mondays and in 199 operatives the ventilatory capacity was measured at both the beginning and end of the shift to evaluate its acute fall during work (Monday fall in FEV).
The mean annual decline in FEV for cotton workers was 54 ml/year and it was only 32 ml/year for workers in the man-made fibre mills but this lower value was attributable almost entirely to one of the two mills. For the jobs near the carding engines the annual decline was 22 ml/year higher than for speed-frame tenters. The annual decline for cigarette smokers was 19 ml/year greater than for non- and ex-smokers. The annual decline in FEV was not found to be related to symptoms of byssinosis or bronchitis, nor to present dust levels, bioactivity of the dust or air pollution, although the expected effect attributable to byssinosis turned out to be less than that which the survey was designed to detect.
The mean Monday fall in FEV was higher in cotton mills than in man-made fibre mills among those without symptoms of byssinosis and was correlated with present dust levels. For those with symptoms of byssinosis an increased Monday fall was found only in those processing coarse cotton.
For those subjects who completed the respiratory questionnaire on two occasions the chronic and acute changes in FEV were examined in relation to the change in symptoms of byssinosis. No association was found for annual decline in FEV but the Monday fall in FEV was greater for those who developed byssinosis during the survey than for those who remained free of symptoms, and was less for those who lost their symptoms than for those who retained them.
PMCID: PMC1009474  PMID: 4685297
6.  Exposure of cotton workers in an experimental cardroom with reference to airborne endotoxins. 
Workers from cotton mills were exposed to cotton dust during carding in an experimental cardroom. Cotton from different geographical locations with varying amounts of endotoxin were used. Exposure levels ranged from 0.6 to 3.6 mg dust/m3 (from a vertical elutriator) and from 0.1 to 8.0 micrograms/m3 of endotoxin. No relationship was found between the decrease in FEV1 over the workshift and the amount of airborne dust. Airborne endotoxin correlated with the decrease in FEV1 and the increase in blood neutrophils. The FEV1 decrease was more pronounced among smokers. The data suggest that the amount of airborne endotoxin determines the risk for development of the acute symptoms in the byssinosis syndrome.
PMCID: PMC1474365  PMID: 3709487
7.  Circadian rhythms in peak expiratory flow rate in workers exposed to cotton dust. 
Thorax  1984;39(10):759-765.
One hundred and sixty two people working in various departments of cotton spinning and weaving mills measured and recorded their own peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) at two hourly intervals during Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the same work week, from waking in the morning throughout the day until going to bed and a last time the following morning after waking. The circadian rhythm in PEFR was computed by the Halberg program. The mean amplitude of the rhythm in the group was found to be 3.3% and the acrophase fell approximately in the middle of the waking hours. Older workers and those claiming to suffer from symptoms of chronic bronchitis were found to have an amplitude significantly higher (4.1% and 3.9% respectively) than their younger or symptom free counterparts (2.6% and 2.9% respectively; p less than 0.03). The amplitude of cardroom workers (2.4%), workers with byssinosis (2.7%), and those with much exposure to airborne cotton dust (3.3%) and bacteria (2.9%) tended to be lower than that of less exposed groups such as office staff (3.9%), though the difference was significant only in the case of cardroom workers (p less than 0.04). This may be due to airborne contaminants in the working environment.
PMCID: PMC459914  PMID: 6495244
8.  A Study of Byssinosis, Chronic Respiratory Symptoms, and Ventilatory Capacity in English and Dutch Cotton Workers, with Special Reference to Atmospheric Pollution 
An epidemiological survey of 414 English and 980 Dutch male cotton workers was undertaken to determine the prevalence of byssinosis and respiratory symptoms, and to compare the ventilatory capacities in the two populations, with particular reference to the influence of air pollution. The English workers were employed in six mills in Lancashire and the Dutch workers in three mills in Almelo spinning similar grades of cotton.
The methods used included a questionnaire on respiratory symptoms and illnesses, the collection and examination of sputum, and the measurement of the forced expiratory volume over 0·75 sec. Concentrations of smoke and sulphur dioxide were measured in the English and Dutch towns.
The crude rates for byssinosis were similar, 13·5% and 17% respectively in the English and Dutch card and blow rooms, and 1·5% and 1·6% respectively in the spinning rooms. The English workers had significantly higher prevalences of persistent cough and persistent phlegm and significantly lower indirect maximum breathing capacities. These findings were supported by the results of a sputum survey. Nearly twice as many English produced specimens, and the mean volume of sputum was greater for the English workers.
The prevalence of bronchitis, defined as persistent phlegm and at least one chest illness during the past three years, causing absence from work, was higher in the English than in the Dutch workers in both types of work room, but not significantly so after standardizing for differences in age. Since there are important differences in the social security systems of the two countries, which may encourage more absence from illness among the Dutch, a comparison of bronchitis thus defined is likely to be invalid.
The higher prevalences of respiratory symptoms and lower ventilatory capacities in the English are unlikely to be due to observer error. They are discussed in relation to smoking habits, exposure to cotton dust, and air pollution. The most likely explanation of the unfavourable picture presented by the English workers is the much higher level of air pollution in Lancashire.
PMCID: PMC1038333  PMID: 14145373
9.  Preprocessing cotton to prevent byssinosis 
Merchant, J. A., Lumsden, J. C., Kilburn, K. H., Germino, V. H., Hamilton, J. D., Lynn, W. S., Byrd, H., and Baucom, D. (1973).British Journal of Industrial Medicine,30, 237-247. Preprocessing cotton to prevent byssinosis. A fundamental approach of cleaning or deactivating cotton prior to manufacturing has long been advocated to prevent byssinosis, but no trial had been conducted to test the feasibility of such an approach. In the study described, it was possible to be directed by both biological observations and the results of manufacturing trials.
An exposure chamber was built in a cotton textile mill which had been previously studied as part of a large cross-sectional survey. The chamber was provided with an independent air conditioning system and a carding machine which served as a dust generator. Sixteen subjects, who had shown reductions in expiratory flow rate with exposure to cotton dust, were chosen to form a panel for exposure to raw cottons and cottons which had been preprocessed by heating, washing, and steaming. Indicators of effects were symptoms of chest tightness and/or dyspnoea, change in FEV1·0, and fine dust levels over 6 hours of exposure.
Exposure of the panel to no cotton dust resulted in no change in FEV1·0 and served as the control for subsequent trials. Exposure to strict middling cotton resulted in a byssinosis symptom prevalence of 22%, a significant decrement in FEV1·0 of 2·9%, and a fine dust level of 0·26 mg/m3. Exposure to strict low middling cotton resulted in a byssinosis symptom prevalence of 79%, a decrement in FEV1·0 of 8·5%, and a fine dust level of 0·89 mg/m3. Oven heating strict low middling cotton resulted in a byssinosis symptom prevalence of 56% and a relatively greater drop in FEV1·0 of 8·3% for 0·48 mg/m3 of fine dust. Washing the strict low grade cotton eliminated detectable biological effects with a symptom prevalence of 8%, an increase of 1·4% in FEV1·, and a dust level of 0·16 mg/m3, but the cotton proved to be difficult to process. As an alternative method, strict low middling cotton was steamed initially in large dyeing vats, on a conveyor, in an autoclave, and in a modified yarn dyeing apparatus or `pipe' steamer. Of these methods, autoclaving cotton was the most successful, reducing symptom prevalence to 8%, the drop in FEV1·0 to 0·4%, and the dust level to 0·23 mg/m3. Development of a high capacity cotton steamer based on the small `pipe' steaming model resulted in a symptom prevalence of 8%, a decrement in FEV1·0 of 0·8%, and a mean dust level of 0·27 mg/m3. Regressions calculated from raw and high capacity steaming trials indicate that at low dust levels steamed cotton dust was roughly one half as biologically active as raw cotton dust.
PMCID: PMC1009518  PMID: 4723787
10.  Studies on the aetiology of byssinosis 
Taylor, G., Massoud, A. A. E., and Lucas, F. (1971).Brit. J. industr. Med.,28, 143-151. Studies on the aetiology of byssinosis. A condensed polyphenol based on leucocyanidin has been extracted from the cotton plant. The reaction between this material and human serum has been demonstrated using both a precipitin and a passive agglutination technique. Sera from 196 cardroom workers not suffering from byssinosis, 177 byssinotic cardroom workers, and 203 controls were tested for reactivity with the condensed polyphenol using the passive agglutination technique. Significant differences in mean titres were obtained between cardroom workers and controls and between byssinotic and non-byssinotic cardroom workers. It was shown that while the mean titre in non-byssinotic cardroom workers remains relatively constant with respect to duration of employment, the titre in those cardroom workers suffering from byssinosis shows a progressive rise with duration of cardroom exposure.
Inhalation of solutions of the condensed polyphenol by normal control subjects and by non-byssinotic cardroom workers produced neither symptoms nor changes in FEV1·0 or FVC. On the other hand, inhalation of the material by byssinotic cardroom workers induced symptoms identical with those experienced on exposure in the cardroom on Mondays. Because of the subjective nature of byssinosis, this inhalational study was repeated as a double-blind trial which completely confirmed the above observations.
PMCID: PMC1009258  PMID: 5572682
11.  Mill effect and dose-response relationships in byssinosis. 
Four hundred and eighty-six textile workers in three cotton mills and one wool/synthetic mill were studied for symptoms and functional effects of workroom exposure to dust. Byssinosis was found in 5.7% of 386 cotton workers, with an apparent threshold level of 0.5 mg cotton dust/m3 of air. Mean post-shift functional declines were greater in workers exposed to greater than or equal to 0.2 mg/m3. Workers with byssinosis were unequally distributed, however, with respect to job category and mill; and these variables, rather than current dust exposure levels, accounted for the observed distribution of byssinosis prevalence rates. Variation in biological potency of different samples of cotton dust could be responsible for 'mill effect', the residual variation in response rates by mill after controlling for variation due to dust exposure. A number of other potential influencing variables that are likely to be distributed unequally by mill should also be considered. Mill effect should be assessed in large-scale studies of byssinosis, most of which have analysed biological response rates by combining mill and other variables to examine first-order effects of dust dosage. In such analyses, much of the observed variability may be due to factors other than dust dosage.
PMCID: PMC1008608  PMID: 508642
12.  Intervention studies of cotton steaming to reduce biological effects of cotton dust 
Merchant, J. A., Lumsden, J. C., Kilburn, K. H., O'Fallon, W. M., Copeland, K., Germino, V. H., McKenzie, W. N., Baucom, D., Currin, P., and Stilman, J. (1974).British Journal of Industrial Medicine,31, 261-274. Intervention studies of cotton steaming to reduce biological effects of cotton dust. Previous exposure chamber studies had suggested that steaming cotton could reduce significantly the levels and the biological effects of cotton dust. Therefore an intervention study using a high capacity steamer was designed to test the effectiveness of this process in a single cotton mill. The mill population was surveyed and dust sampling was completed prior to intervention with steamed cotton. A panel of 62 byssinotics and heavily exposed workers was selected to serve as a test panel while steamed cotton was introduced to the mill. Following the introduction of adequately steamed cotton the mean Monday decrement in forced expired volume in one second among panel members was significantly reduced to half that observed during control trials. Dust levels were also significantly reduced in the initial opening and picking processes but increased significantly in later processes. Re-evaluation of the mill population by work area suggested some improvement in expiratory flow per milligram of dust exposure but a progression in symptoms of byssinosis and bronchitis in later mill processes. It is suggested that steaming may have resulted in removal of some bronchoconstricting property of cotton dust, but that binding of fine dust to the fibre may also occur, resulting in delayed release of fine dust particles. The implications of these observations on environmental control are discussed.
PMCID: PMC1009597  PMID: 4425630
13.  A Clinical and Environmental Study of Byssinosis in the Lancashire Cotton Industry 
The prevalence of byssinosis was measured in a population of 189 male and 780 female workers employed in three coarse and two fine cotton mills. Ninety-eight per cent. of the male and 96% of the female population were seen.
The workers were graded by their histories as follows:
Grade 0—No symptoms of chest tightness or breathlessness on Mondays
Grade ½—Occasional chest tightness on Mondays, or mild symptoms such as irritation of the respiratory tract on Mondays
Grade 1—Chest tightness and/or breathlessness on Mondays only
Grade 2—Chest tightness and/or breathlessness on Mondays and other days
The dust concentrations to which the workers were exposed were measured with a dust-sampling instrument based on the hexhlet. Altogether 505 working places were sampled. In the card-rooms of the coarse mills 63% of the men and 48% of the women had symptoms of byssinosis. In the card-rooms of the fine mills the corresponding prevalences were 7% for the men, and 6% for the women. Prevalences were low in the spinning-rooms in the coarse mills. The mean dust concentrations in the different rooms ranged from 90 mg./100 m.3 in one section of the card-room in a fine mill, to 440 mg./100 m.3 in one of the card-rooms of the coarse spinning mills. The prevalence of byssinosis in the different rooms was closely related to the overall dustiness (r = 0·93). For the three main constituents of the dust, namely, cellulose, protein, and ash, the prevalence of byssinosis correlated most highly with protein, particularly with the protein in the medium-sized dust particles, i.e., approximately 7 microns to 2 mm.
The symptoms of byssinosis may be caused by something in the plant débris which affects the respiratory tract above the level of the terminal bronchioles. This is the site where the medium-sized dust deposits. The possible importance of the fine dust is discussed.
For routine measurements in industry, it is necessary to have a method of assessing dustiness in which the sampling equipment is simple and assessment rapid. As total dust concentration is relatively easy to measure, and correlates closely with the prevalence of byssinosis, permissible levels of dustiness have been expressed in terms of total dust. On comparing the prevalence of byssinosis among workers with short and long exposures and low and high concentrations (Table 11), it appears that a mill with a concentration of 100 mg./100 m.3 or less would be reasonably safe, but in dusty card-rooms it seems that such levels are not possible to achieve at present. As it is necessary to adopt a realistic target that can be achieved, it is suggested that dust concentrations in cotton mills should be less than 250 mg./100 m.3 and that periodic medical examinations should be adopted to protect susceptible workers who can be advised to leave their dusty environment before they are permanently disabled.
PMCID: PMC1039177  PMID: 14437722
14.  Histamine release from platelets for assay of byssinogenic substances in cotton mill dust and related materials. 
Previous reports suggest that byssinosis, an asthma-like condition among textile workers, may be mediated in part by histamine liberated following inhalation of dust. A simple, sensitive, and reliable procedure using pig platelets which contain the unusually high concentration of 0.8-1.6 microgram histamine/10(9) cells has been devised for the assay of histamine-releasing factors in cotton mill dust and related materials, and has yielded results generally in accordance with earlier assays using chopped lung tissue. As little as 50--100 microgram of total extractable substances from cotton mill dust can be measured. The activity of the extract is associated with the non-dialysable high molecular weight portion. However, conditions of acid hydrolysis do not destroy the activity. Extracts of leaves from different varieties of plant are highly potent, which suggests that the factors responsible for byssinosis are widely distributed plant components, present in textile fibre plants and converted to a respirable form by handling processes. Ellagic acid and sodium metasilicate release histamine from pig platelets, and represent new classes of compounds with possible roles in the aetiology of byssinosis.
PMCID: PMC1008490  PMID: 87216
15.  Effect of Rosa damascena Mill. flower extract on rat ileum 
Rosa damascena flower is widely used for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. However, its pharmacological action on isolated ileum has not been studied. In this research, the effect of extract of flower petals of R. damascena Mill. growing in Kashan, Iran, on ileum motility was investigated. Hydroalcoholic extract was prepared by percolation method. A section of rat ileum was suspended in an organ bath containing Tyrode’s solution. The tissue was stimulated with electrical field stimulation (EFS), KCl and acetylcholine (ACh). The tissue was kept under 1g tension at 37°C and continuously gassed with O2. Effect of the R. damascena extract was studied on ileum contractions induced by EFS, KCl and ACh and compared with that of atropine. R. damascena extract (10-100 mg/ml) induced a contraction in rat isolated ileum while at 1mg bath concentration it had relaxant effect on rat ileum. Hydroalcoholic extract of R. damascena (1-8 mg/ml) concentration dependently inhibited ileum contraction induced by KCl (IC50=3.3 ± 0.9 mg/ml), ACh (IC50=1.4 ± 0.1 mg/ml) and EFS (IC50=1.5 ± 0.3 mg/ml). The vehicle had no significant effect on ileum contractions. From this experiment it was concluded that R. damascena extract at microgram concentrations had stimulatory effect on ileum smooth muscle. However, at milligram concentrations, it shows an inhibitory effect. This is most likely due to presence of different components in the extract. The stimulatory effect of the extract confirms its benefits for the treatment of constipation. Therefore, separation and identification of active components is recommended.
PMCID: PMC3757593  PMID: 24082897
Rosa damascena; Hydroalcoholic extract; Atropine; Ileum; Lidocaine
16.  An epidemiological study of respiratory symptoms in Lancashire mills, 1963-66 
Molyneux, M. K. B., and Tombleson, J. B. L. (1970).Brit. J. industr. Med.,27, 225-234. An epidemiological study of respiratory symptoms in Lancashire Mills, 1963-66. An epidemiological study of card and blowroom workers in 14 cotton spinning and two man-made fibre spinning mills in Lancashire has been carried out on a prospective basis of six-monthly examinations over three years. The number of operatives to be included was decided so as to give a sufficient sample for the statistical assessment of fall in FEV, at the same time allowing for population movement. The examination of each worker included a history, a questionnaire of respiratory symptoms, and a measurement of forced expiratory volume in one second. The results in this paper, which will be followed by others on other aspects of the survey, give the prevalence of both byssinosis and bronchitis, according to the definition given, in the 1 359 cotton workers and 227 man-made fibre workers, seen at least once, and also the dust levels in the mills. Eight of the mills processed coarse and six medium cotton.
The total prevalence of byssinosis, as defined, is 26·9%, being higher in coarse than in medium cotton mills, and the occupational groups most affected are strippers and grinders, carders and undercarders, and draw frame tenters. In coarse mills symptoms develop in some men and women within the first four years of exposure, and in medium mills between five and ten years' exposure. Repeat questionnaires in about half the population, two years after the first questionnaire, showed the development of symptoms of chest tightness in an appreciable number not previously affected. The incidence of bronchitis is increased in operatives with symptoms of byssinosis, but is influenced by age and smoking.
Total dust levels averaged 3·1 mg/m3 in coarse miles and 1·2 mg/m3 in medium mills. The findings indicate that dust control measures, though they have produced considerable improvement, are not now fully effective with present methods of production.
PMCID: PMC1009137  PMID: 5448120
In a rope works handling manila, sisal, and St. Helena hemps, the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and the change in forced expiratory volume (F.E.V.1·0) during the work shift were studied in a group of 41 women and 41 men who represented 93% of the population at risk.
Dust concentrations, measured with a modified Hexhlet, ranged from 0·11 to 4·51 mg./m.3 for total dust and 0·02 to 1·46 mg./m.3 for fine dust. The highest concentrations were found in the preparing rooms, in which the workers, all of whom were women, showed on the average a fall in ventilatory capacity during the shift. The workers in the rope walk, all of whom were men, showed a rise in ventilatory capacity during the shift. The difference between the men and women was statistically significant (p < 0·05). No worker gave a characteristic history of byssinosis, although nine women complained of chest tightness associated with their work.
Undue breathlessness on exertion and persistent cough and phlegm were also more common among the women, but they were on the average 18 years older than the men. When the ventilatory capacities and the prevalence of respiratory symptoms of women rope workers were compared with those of a group of women employed elsewhere in the dockyard, the only significant difference was that the rope workers had more chest tightness associated with their work (p < 0·02).
Exposure of volunteers to St. Helena hemp, which is apparently the most likely of the hard hemps to give rise to respiratory symptoms, caused only a slight fall in ventilatory capacity and a small rise in airways resistance.
A sample of St. Helena hemp assayed on guinea-pig ileum had only a relatively small degree of contractor activity. The evidence suggests that the dusts of hard hemps do not cause byssinosis under the conditions in this factory. However, the irritant nature of the dust indicates the need to prevent total dust levels exceeding about 2 mg./m.3.
PMCID: PMC1008297
18.  Prevalence of byssinosis in Swedish cotton mills. 
The prevalence of byssinosis and of chronic bronchitis was studied in a questionnaire investigation among workers in bale opening areas, carding rooms, and spinning rooms in five Swedish cotton mills. Airborne dust and Gram-negative bacteria was measured. Nineteen per cent of the interviewed workers reported symptoms of light byssinosis (grade 1/2). The prevalence of symptoms was not related to the duration of employment, and cases of byssinosis were found among people who had worked in cotton mills for only a few years. A significantly higher proportion of male than female workers reported symptoms. No difference in the extent of byssinosis was found between smokers and non-smokers, but the prevalence was significantly higher among those workers who had ceased smoking. The prevalence of byssinosis was related to the number of airborne viable Gram-negative bacteria as well as to the dust level in the different mills.
PMCID: PMC1008836  PMID: 7236538
19.  The Size of Cotton Dust Particles Causing Byssinosis: An Environmental and Physiological Study 
Fourteen subjects of whom 12 were cotton mill blow- or card-room workers were exposed in a plastic tent for periods of three or four hours to airborne mill dust either of unrestricted size distribution (total dust) or containing only particles of less than 7μ(fine dust).
A significant fall in indirect maximum breathing capacity followed exposure to either total or fine dust in most experiments. The response to total dust usually appeared a little larger than to fine but the concentration of fine particles in the unfiltered air was rather higher. The changes in the single-breath nitrogen clearance index and the inspiratory airways resistance were less constant, but the general pattern followed that of the ventilatory capacity.
It is concluded that the fine fraction (under 7μ) of cotton mill dust produces changes in respiratory function and may be alone responsible. The findings suggest a direct action by the dust on the smaller air passages and imply that to be completely effective dust suppression measures in cotton mills should remove fine dust.
PMCID: PMC1038125
20.  Respiratory problems among cotton textile mill workers in Ethiopia. 
This study was conducted to investigate the prevalence of respiratory problems, in particular byssinosis, and to explore factors associated with their occurrence among a group of 595 randomly selected workers representing 40.5% of those exposed to dusty operations in a typical Ethiopian cotton textile mill. A standard questionnaire on respiration was administered and pre and postshift forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) were determined for each worker; workers found to have byssinosis and other respiratory diseases were compared with workers having no respiratory diseases in terms of the level and duration of exposure to cotton dust and other variables. Multiple area air samples from different sections were analysed for elutriated cotton dust concentrations (0.86-3.52 mg/m3). The prevalence of byssinosis was 43.2% among blowers and 37.5% in carders in comparison with four to 24% among workers in other sections. Prevalence of chronic bronchitis ranged from 17.6 to 47.7% and bronchial asthma from 8.5 to 20.5% across all sections. Significant across shift decrements in FEV1 and FVC were seen in those workers with respiratory tract diseases compared with those workers without such diseases. A significant dose response relation for pulmonary function and respiratory illnesses was also found by regression analysis. Preventive measures are proposed. Further research including a nationwide survey of textile mills is suggested. This is the first epidemiological study of the textile industry in Ethiopia.
PMCID: PMC1035330  PMID: 1998605
21.  Relationships between dust level and byssinosis and bronchitis in Lancashire cotton mills 
Berry, G., Molyneux, M. K. B., and Tombleson, J. B. L. (1974). British Journal of Industrial Medicine,31, 18-27. Relationships between dust level and byssinosis and bronchitis in Lancashire cotton mills. A prospective survey of workers in 14 cotton and two man-made fibre spinning mills was carried out. A questionnaire on respiratory symptoms was completed at the start of the survey by 1 359 cotton workers and 227 workers in man-made fibre mills and again two years later by about half of these workers. Dust measurements were available for 772 women and 234 men cotton workers.
The prevalence of bronchitis was found to be unrelated to dust level but for women was related to years of exposure. The change in symptoms of bronchitis was unrelated to dust level or to length of exposure. There was, however, an increased prevalence of bronchitis in the cotton mills when compared with the man-made fibre mills, and also over the two-year period a greater proportion of symptom-free workers developed symptoms and a lower proportion of those with symptoms lost their symptoms in the cotton mills than in the man-made fibre mills.
The prevalence of byssinosis was related to smoking habits, the smokers having about 1·4 times as much byssinosis as the non- and ex-smokers after allowing for exposure. Byssinosis was associated with the dust level and years of exposure, more so for the women, and an association between the incidence of new cases over the two years and dust level was also found. After allowing for dust level, years of exposure, and smoking there were still differences between the occupational groups in byssinosis prevalence. Strippers and grinders had the highest prevalence followed by drawframe tenters. Speedframe tenters, card tenters, and comber tenters had similar prevalences and ring spinners the lowest.
PMCID: PMC1009538  PMID: 4821407
22.  Effect of alkali treatment on physiological activity of cotton condensed tannin. 
Cotton dusts contain condensed tannins and endotoxins, which are suspected of contributing to the development of acute and chronic biological responses in some cotton textile mill workers. Condensed tannin extracted from cotton dust was coated on to cellulose powder, and the tannin coated powder was treated with an alkali solvent system previously developed to reduce the endotoxin content and pulmonary toxicity of cotton dust. Physiological activities of the dusts and powders were compared by assaying the production of the arachidonic acid metabolites prostaglandin F2 alpha (PGF2 alpha), thromboxane A2 (TxA2) (the precursor to thromboxane B2 (TxB2], leukotriene C4 (LTC4), and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) by guinea pig pulmonary cells obtained by lung lavage. Cotton dust stimulated the pulmonary cells to produce a total of 29 pg metabolites per 10(6) cells. Production of metabolites by cells stimulated with tannin coated cellulose powder was reduced to 8.3 pg/10(6) cells. Alkali treatment of the tannin coated cellulose powder resulted in a further decrease in its ability to stimulate the cells, producing 3.5 pg metabolites per 10(6) cells. The ability of the dusts and powders to stimulate production of metabolites of arachidonic acid by pulmonary cells from guinea pigs was highly correlated with tannin content of the materials, but not with endotoxin content as measured by the Limulus amoebocyte lysate (LAL) assay.
PMCID: PMC1012029  PMID: 2223662
23.  Cotton dust concentrations and particle size distributions associated with genotypes. 
The problem of byssinosis has plagued cotton textile mills for hundreds of years, and it is still a problem today. With the regulations on airborne raw cotton dust set by OSHA and the ACGIH, research regarding the measurement of cotton dust in lint fiber is a necessity. A procedure known as the mass concentration particle size distribution (MCPSD) technique, developed at Texas A&M University, was used to measure the characteristics of cotton dust as affected by harvesting method and genotype. Cotton genotypes from three harvest seasons were analyzed by using a Coulter Counter, Model TAII, to obtain the mass concentrations and particle size distributions of dust present in the lint fiber. The genotypes were subjected to both hand harvesting and conventional spindle harvesting for comparison purposes. Results from the dust concentration analyses of particles less than 100 micron, 16 micron, and 8 micron in diameter, respectively, are presented. Also, a proposed procedure to obtain large quantities of "cotton dust" from gin trash material is discussed.
PMCID: PMC1474383  PMID: 3709480
24.  Human ventilatory response to washed and unwashed cottons from different growing areas. 
Thirty volunteer subjects were exposed to controlled amounts of respirable dust generated by the carding of cotton in an experimental cardroom. Eighteen exposures each lasting six hours were performed while carding unwashed and washed cottons from the three major growing regions of the United States. Elutriated dust was analysed gravimetrically and was comparable (0.59 mg/m3 +/- 0.04) for all exposures. Spirometry was recorded before and after each exposure. California cotton resulted in a significantly smaller fall in FEV1 than cotton of the same grade from Texas or Mississippi. All washed cottons resulted in reduced declines when compared with unwashed cottons. For 17 subjects breathing zone personal total dust samples were analysed for airborne endotoxin and compared with the individual's pulmonary function response. A significant correlation between endotoxin exposure and acute decrease in FEV1 was seen. The effect on FEV1 per nanogram of airborne endotoxin was greater for Mississippi cotton than for cotton from the other regions. Airborne endotoxin appears to be an important determinant of acute pulmonary effects of cotton dust. Water washing of cotton results in reduced airborne endotoxin and less bronchoconstriction.
PMCID: PMC1007630  PMID: 3947581
25.  Lung function in Lancashire cotton and man made fibre spinning mill operatives. 
OBJECTIVES--This survey was conducted to investigate current lung function levels in operatives working with cotton and man made fibres. Dust concentrations, smoking history, and occupational details were recorded so that factors influencing lung function could be identified. METHODS--A cross sectional study of respiratory symptoms and lung function was made in 1057 textile spinning operatives of white caucasian extraction. This represented 96.9% of the total available working population to be studied. Most (713) worked currently with cotton. The remainder worked with man made fibre. Lung function was assessed by measuring forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC). Exposure to cotton dust was measured in the work area and personal breathing zones, and retrospective exposure to cotton dust over a working life was estimated with accurate work history and best available hygiene data. RESULTS--3.5% of all operatives had byssinosis, 55 (5.3%) chronic bronchitis, 36 (3.5%) work related persistent cough, 55 (5.3%) non-byssinotic work related chest tightness, and 56 (5.3%) work related wheeze. A total of 212 static work area dust samples (range 0.04-3.23 mg/m3) and 213 personal breathing zone samples (range 0.14-24.95 mg/m3) were collected. Percentage of predicted FEV1 was reduced in current smokers (mean 89.5, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 88-91) in comparison with non-smokers (93.1, 90.5-94.1) and FVC was reduced in operatives currently working with man made fibre (95.3, 93.8-96.9) in comparison with cotton (97.8, 96.6-99.0). Regression analysis identified smoking (P < 0.01), increasing age (P < 0.01), increasing time worked in the waste room (P < 0.01), and male sex (P < 0.05) as being associated with a lower FEV1 and FVC. Current and retrospective cotton dust exposures did not appear as predictor variables in the regression analysis although in a univariate analysis, FEV1 was reduced in those operatives exposed to high dust concentrations assessed by personal and work area sampling. DISCUSSION--This study has documented loss of lung function in association with exposure to cotton dust. Those operatives with work related symptoms had significantly lower FEV1 and FVC than asymptomatic workers. Although lung function seemed to be affected by high dust exposures when operatives were stratified into high and low exposure groups, regression analysis did not identify current dust concentrations as an independent factor influencing loss. Smoking habit was found to explain most of the measured change in FEV1 and FVC. It is likely that smoking and dust exposure interact to cause loss of lung function in cotton textile workers.
PMCID: PMC1128403  PMID: 8563857

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