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Classification and external resources
ICD-10 J66.0
ICD-9 504
MeSH D002095

Byssinosis, also called "brown lung disease" or "Monday fever", is an occupational lung disease caused by exposure to cotton dust in inadequately ventilated working environments.[1] Byssinosis commonly occurs in workers who are employed in yarn and fabric manufacture industries. It is not thought that the cotton dust directly causes the disease and some believe that the causative agents are endotoxins that come from the cell walls of gram negative bacteria that grow on the cotton. Although bacterial endotoxin is a likely cause, the absence of similar symptoms in workers in other industries exposed to endotoxins makes this uncertain.[2]

Of the 81 byssinosis-related fatalities reported in the United States between 1990 and 1999, 48% included an occupation in the yarn, thread, and fabric industry on the victim's death certificate.[3] This disease often occurred in the times of the industrial revolution. Most commonly young girls working in mills or other textile factories would be afflicted with this disease.

The term "brown lung" is a misnomer, as the lungs of affected individuals are not brown.


Brown lung can ultimately result in narrowing of the trachea in the lungs, lung scarring and death from infection or respiratory failure.[4]


  1. ^ Hollander, AG (December 1953). "Byssinosis". Chest (American College of Chest Physicians) 24 (6): 674–678. doi:10.1378/chest.24.6.674 (inactive 2008-06-23). PMID 13107566. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ Newman, Lee S. (June 2008). "Byssinosis". Merck Manuals: online medical dictionary. Merck & Co.. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  3. ^ The Work-Related Lung Disease Surveillance Report, 2002. Section 4. Byssinosis and Related Exposures. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Accessed March 17, 2009.
  4. ^ "Byssinosis". Retrieved 2009-11-23.
  • Snyder, Rachel Louise (2007). Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade. W. W. Norton.

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