What Is Pneumoconiosis?
Stemming from the Greek language for “dusty lungs,” pneumoconiosis is an occupational type of interstitial lung disease caused by the repeated inhalation of mineral dust at job sites. The minerals irritate and inflame the lungs, leaving permanent scars.
Over time, the scar tissue can harden the lungs and make it more difficult for them to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. As a result, the risk of heart failure, pulmonary tuberculosis
Who is at risk?
Pneumoconiosis is an occupational disease that mainly affects individuals who are exposed to dangerous airborne minerals at their place of employment. Those most at risk include:
· Miners (coal, metal and mineral)
· Shipbuilders and repairmen
· Construction workers
· Insulation workers
· Locomotive workers
· Manufacturers of pottery, glass and porcelain
· Iron and steel workers
Black lung is a form of pneumoconiosis that is caused by breathing in coal dust from a mine. It is also called miner’s lung and anthracosis. Coal miners and others who manufacture synthetic graphite, lamp black and carbon black are most at risk.
Silicosis also falls under the pneumoconiosis umbrella and is caused by inhaling silica, a mineral commonly found in sand, rock
sand, sandstone, slate, some clays
Another type of pneumoconiosis is siderosis, which is caused by the inhalation of iron particles and mostly affects welders. The condition is also known as “welder’s lung” and “silver polisher’s lung”. Siderosis rarely causes any symptoms, but it may show up as an abnormality on an X-ray.
How to prevent pneumoconiosis
About 16 percent of coal miners develop pneumoconiosis from regularly breathing in coal dust. Some effective ways to help prevent the disease include wearing a mask while working, washing areas of the body that come into contact with dust, safely removing dust from clothing, washing hands before eating or drinking and regularly seeing a doctor for chest X-rays and physical exams.
Though the scarring left by pneumoconiosis is incurable, the Lung Health Institute offers treatment options to help those living with the disease achieve a better quality of life. If you’d like to learn more, contact one of our patient coordinators today at (855) 882-1292 to schedule a free consultation.
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