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Respiratory changes in two groups of flax workers with different exposure pattern
  1. E. Žuškin,
  2. F. Valić
  1. Andrija Štampar School of Public Health, Zagreb University, Zagreb, Yugoslavia


    Zuskin, E., and Valić, F. (1973).Thorax, 28, 579-583. Respiratory changes in two groups of flax workers with different exposure pattern. A high mean total concentration of flax particles (16·9 mg/m3), of which about 20% were of respirable size, caused a high prevalence of bysinosis (69·9%) in 55 non-smoking female workers exposed to biologically retted flax over an average period of 11 years. A significant mean FEV1·0 decrease over the first work shift after the weekend break was recorded in both byssinotics and non-byssinotics but was more pronounced in the former. The mean acute FEV1·0 reductions over a work shift were smaller on the third than on the first day in the week.

    Significant decreases in FEV1·0 and in maximum expiratory flow rate at 50% of vital capacity over the Monday work shift were recorded in a group of 17 seasonal male workers who had been exposed to flax for only two to three months each year for no more than three years.

    A high prevalence of chronic cough, chronic sputum production, and chronic bronchitis was found in the female flax workers, especially among the byssinotics.

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    • 1 Supported in part by grant PL 480 Project 02-006-3 from the Bureau of Occupational Safety and Health, US Public Health Service, Department of Health, Education and Welfare.