Lessons from Medical History - Occupational and Environmental Diseases
Two sorry stories. In about 1990, two middle aged men died in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary from a fibrotic lung disease. I was asked to see the second of these men in his terminal illness and found that both had been working as stonemasons on Elgin cathedral, employed by Historic Buildings, Scotland. A visit to the workplace showed that they and their colleagues had been and were being exposed to very high concentrations of fin e quartz dust from the use of powered tools on sandstone. There was no local exhaust ventilation to extract dust and the respirators provided were inadequate. Post mortem studies showed the two men to have died from acute silicosis, a condition not described in modern times in Britain. Fortunately, it was possible to prevent further serious illness in the remaining masons by appropriate action.
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