Walker, D. D., Archibald, R. M., and Attfield, M. D. (1971).Brit. J. industr. Med.,28, 358-363. Bronchitis in men employed in the coke industry. An epidemiological survey to determine the prevalence of bronchitis in men employed at two of the National Coal Board's coking plants is described. Eight hundred and eighty-one men (91%) of the total working population were examined.
A strong association was found between bronchitis prevalence and cigarette smoking (P < 0·001). In addition, men who smoked and who were exposed to high temperatures, dust, and fumes in the environment of the coke-ovens had more bronchitis than men who worked elsewhere in the cokeworks (P < 0·02).
Both the presence of bronchitis and employment in the environment of the coke-ovens had significant and independent effects on ventilatory capacity. The combination of cigarette smoking and previous employment in a dusty industry also had a significant effect on ventilatory capacity.
The investigation suggests that cigarette smoking, and the combination of smoking and pollution from the coke-ovens and previous occupation, appear to be important factors in the aetiology of bronchitis and reduced ventilatory capacity in men employed in the coke manufacturing industry.