BROWN LUNG DISEASE is a respiratory disorder associated with the processing of cotton, flax, hemp, or other fibers, and is common among textile workers. The term Brown Lung is often mistakenly used for either of two different diseases, according to the book The Cotton Dust Papers: “… Mill Fever, which is an acute response to the biologically active material—fungi, bacteria—in contaminated cotton, and byssinosis, which is related to the component of cotton dust emanating, it is believed, from the endotoxins of the cotton plant itself.”

Although it was commonly called by different names, including Mill Fever, in different areas and times, this affliction was first recognized in the 1600s and was widely known in England and Europe 200 years later.

Until the relatively recent past, it was ...

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