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Diffuse Interstitial Lung Disease in Tungsten Carbide Workers

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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to E. Osborne Coates, Jr., M.D., Division of Pulmonary Diseases, Henry Ford Hospital, 2799 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, Mich. 48202

Detroit, Michigan

Ann Intern Med. 1971;75(5):709-716. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-75-5-709
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Twelve persons working in the manufacture or grinding of tungsten carbide developed a progressive diffuse interstitial pneumonia, characterized clinically by nonproductive cough and by dyspnea on exertion. Lung tissue examined by light microscopy in eight patients and by electron microscopy in one showed interstitial infiltrates of mononuclear and mast cells, desquamated histiocytes in the alveoli, and various amounts of interstitial fibrosis. Eight patients have died. Five additional individuals with episodic cough related to dust exposure but without roentgen abnormalities have been observed. The available evidence indicates that this disease is a pneumoconiosis related to inhalation of finely powdered cobalt.





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