Byssinosis is a disease of the lungs that is caused by excessive exposure to cotton dust, hemp dust, or other particulate matter associated with the textile industry. It only develops after several years of exposure, but symptoms are worse during exposure. Byssinosis has become very rare in developed countries thanks to better conditions in textile factories, but remains a problem in the developing world.

Initials symptoms include a feeling of tightness in the chest, and a shortness of breath. These become worse, and can become present all the time. Smokers suffer more from byssinosis than non-smokers. After lung damage has progressed far enough, death may result to to respiratory failure.

In the case of this, as in all industrially caused diseases, prevention is better than cure. Prevention includes changes to the way that textiles are processed, and wearing of dust masks. Bronchiodilators can be used to make sufferers breathe more easily.

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