Silicosis and Tuberculosis in Sheffield Metal-Grinders: A Clinical-Statistical Study

Meiklejohn, Andrew (1930) Silicosis and Tuberculosis in Sheffield Metal-Grinders: A Clinical-Statistical Study. MD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Diseases of the lungs due to the inhalation of dust and characterised by cough, increasing breathlessness and wasting or phthisis have been recorded since the 5th century B.C. At first many kinds of dust were believed to be equally injurious in their effects on the lungs, but in the light of present knowledge, the sole offending agent is recognised to be free crystalline silica in a finely divided state. This when inhaled into the lungs gives rise to fibrosis (silicosis), the degree of which varies with the intensity and duration of exposure to the dust. Furthermore, this type of fibrosis seems peculiarly liable to complication by pulmonary tuberculosis. The mode of action of the silica is not wholly understood, but at present the majority of workers in this field adhere to the hypothesis of Gye and Kettle, who assert that the silica forms a sol which acts as a direct cell poison. Thereby an area of coagulation necrosis results, in which the tubercle bacilli are protected from phagocytosis aid so can multiply rapidly with impunity. That tuberculosis complicating silicosis is of an unusually rapid and fatal type is the recorded opinion of a great many writers on the subject. Metal grinders in the Sheffield cutlery industry suffer from silicosis, the silica being derived from the sandstone or gritstone wheels on which they work. Tuberculosis also is exceedingly common among them. With a view to throwing some light on the problem of silicosis and tubercularisilicosis, these conditions have been investigated among the Sheffield metal-grinders. Data have been assembled concerning 310 fatal cases of tuberculosis in metal grinders, and, as controls, 1,361 fatal cases among males engaged in other occupations in Sheffield. A further series of living cases - 71 grinders and 409 controls - have also been analysed. The following aspects of the Silica Dust problem have been examined and analysed: a. Mortality rate of pulmonary tuberculosis among metal-grinders at the present day. b. Review of mortality rate of pulmonary tuberculosis among metalgrinders for the last 40 years (1886 - 1925). c. Mean age at death. d. Average Fatality period. e. Average Morbidity period. In Table 15 is set forth a summary of the main facts established.

Item Type: Thesis (MD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Medicine, Occupational safety
Date of Award: 1930
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1930-79848
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2020 09:09
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2020 09:09
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/79848

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