Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Ventilatory function of workers exposed to cobalt and diamond containing dust


The ventilatory function of 48 workers occupied on the average for six years in a plant producing diamond-cobalt circular saws was compared with that of 23 control subjects. The geometric mean airborne cobalt concentrations in the two main work areas amounted to 15.2 and 135.5 μg/m3 respectively. The spirometric changes found in the exposed workers were compatible with a moderate restrictive syndrome and were correlated with duration of exposure.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.

    Alexanderson R (1979) Studies on effects of exposure to cobalt: VI. Exposure, uptake and pulmonary effects of cobalt in the hard metal industry (in Swedish). Arbete och hälsa 10:1–24

  2. 2.

    Anttila S, Sutinen S, Paananen M, Kreus KE, Sivonen SJ, GrekulaA A, Alapieti T (1986) Hard metal lung disease: a clinical, histological ultrastructural and X-ray microanalytical study. Eur J Respir Dis 69:83–94

  3. 3.

    Casier P (1988) Cobalt and the diamond polishers. An epidemiologic study (in Dutch). Report — Belgian Occupational Disease Fund, Brussels

  4. 4.

    Crapo RA, Morris AH, Gardner RM (1981) Reference spirometric values using techniques and equipment that meet ATS recommendations. Am Rev Respir Dis 123:659–665

  5. 5.

    Davison AG, Haslam PL, Corrin B, Coutts II, Dewar A, Riding WD, Studdy PR, Newman-Taylor AJ (1983) Interstitial lung disease and asthma on hard-metal workers: broncho-alveolar lavage, ultrastructural, and analytical findings and results of bronchial provocation tests. Thorax 38:119–129

  6. 6.

    Demedts M, Gheysens B, Nagels J, Verbeken E, Lauweryns J, Van den Eeckhout A, Lahaye D, Ghyselen A (1984) Case reports: cobalt lung in diamond polishers. Am Rev Respir Dis 130:130–135

  7. 7.

    Gheysens B, Auwerx J, Van den Eeckhout A, Demedts M (1985) Cobalt induced bronchial asthma in diamond polishers. Chest 88:740–744

  8. 8.

    Hartung M (1986) Forschungsbericht Cobalteinwirkung, Lungenfibrosen bei Hartmetallschleifern, Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften, Sankt Augustin, Germany, 62 pp

  9. 9.

    Hartung M, Schaller KH, Brand E (1982) On the question of the pathogenetic importance of cobalt for hard metal fibrosis of the lung. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 50:53–57

  10. 10.

    Kusaka Y, Ichikawa Y, Shirakawa T, Goto S (1986) Effect of hard metal dust on ventilatory function. Br J Ind Med 43:486–489

  11. 11.

    Meyer-Bisch C, Pham QT, Mur JM, Massin N, Moulin JJ, Teculescu D, Carton B, Pierre F, Baruthio F (1989) Respiratory hazards in hard metal workers: a cross sectional study. Br J Ind Med 46:302–309

  12. 12.

    Perdrix A, Maitre A, Chambouleyron M, Gaudemaris R de, Mallion JM (1988) Material spirographique portatif: Microspiro Hi298, Autospiro AS500, Vitalograph compact, Pulmograph ä cloche sèche. Analyse sur banc d'essai par rapport au cahier des charges défini pour la médecine du travail. Arch Mal Prof 49:41

  13. 13.

    Quanjer Ph, Dalhuijsen A, Van Someren BC (1983) Clinical respiratory physiology, chapter 7: Summary equations of reference values. Bull Eur Physiopathol Respir 19 [Suppl 5]:45–51

  14. 14.

    Raffn E, Mikkelsen S, Altman DG, Christensen J, Groth S (1988) Health effects due to occupational exposure to cobalt blue dye among plate painters in a porcelain factory in Denmark. Scand J Work Environ Health 14:378–384

  15. 15.

    Roto P (1986) Asthma, symptoms of chronic bronchitis and ventilatory capacity among cobalt and zinc production workers. Scand J Work Environ Health 6 [Suppl 1]:49

  16. 16.

    Rüttner JR, Spycher MA, Stolkin I (1987) Inorganic particulates in pneumoconiotic lungs of hard metal grinders. Br J Ind Med 44:657–660

  17. 17.

    Schepers GWH (1955) The biological action of tungsten carbide and cobalt. Arch Ind Health 12:140–146

  18. 18.

    Shirakawa T, Kusaka Y, Fujimura N, Goto S, Morimoto K (1988) The existence of specific antibodies to cobalt in hard metal asthma. Clinical Allergy 18:451–460

  19. 19.

    Shirakawa T, Kusaka Y, Fujimura N, Goto S, Kato M, Heki S, Morimoto K (1989) Occupational asthma from cobalt sensitivity in workers exposed to hard metal dust. Chest 95:29–37

  20. 20.

    Sluis-Cremer GK, Glyn Thomas R, Solomon A (1978) Hardmetal lung disease: a report of 4 cases. S Afr Med J 71:598–600

  21. 21.

    Sprince NL, Chamberlin RI, Hales CA, Weber AL, Kazemi H (1984) Respiratory disease in tungsten carbide production workers. Chest 86:549–556

  22. 22.

    Sprince NL, Oliver C, Eisen EA, Greene RE, Chamberlin RI (1988) Cobalt exposure and lung disease in tungsten carbide production. Am Rev Respir Dis 138:1220–1226

  23. 23.

    Van Cutsem EJ, Ceuppens JL, Lacquet LM, Demedts M (1987) Combined asthma and alveolitis induced by cobalt in a diamond polisher. Eur J Respir Dis 70:54–61

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to R. Lauwerys.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Gennart, J.P., Lauwerys, R. Ventilatory function of workers exposed to cobalt and diamond containing dust. Int. Arch Occup Environ Heath 62, 333–336 (1990).

Download citation

Key words

  • Cobalt
  • Mixed dust exposure
  • Lung function