The United States governmental perspective on prevention of occupational lung diseases was discussed. Enabling federal legislation for preventing occupational lung diseases was reviewed. OSHA and NIOSH were created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) was created by the federal Coal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1969 and its amendments of 1977. The Bureau of Mines (BOM) which is the oldest federal agency concerned with mining was created in 1907. The primary function of OSHA and MSHA is to regulate the workplace. NIOSH and BOM are agencies that primarily conduct research, train professionals, and disseminate information. It was noted that the guiding philosophy of OSHA, NIOSH, MSHA, and BOM is that workers have the right to live and that this can be achieved by providing safe and healthful working conditions. The NIOSH philosophy was summarized. NIOSH views its major role as providing professional leadership to assure that all citizens understand the nature and costs of occupational disease and injury and to determine what can be done to prevent these problems. The question of whether pneumoconioses are eradicable was discussed by analogy with smallpox. The author concludes that pneumoconioses can be eradicated because it is known they are caused by inhaling toxic substances present in the work environment, workers exposed to airborne toxic substances are the known risk group, and inhalation of these substances can be eliminated either by removing them from the workplace or preventing their being inhaled.