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Elimination of silicosis in the Americas.

GOHNET Newsletter 2007 Mar; (12):10-12
In 1995, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) began a campaign to eliminate silicosis from the world by 2030. Silicosis, a preventable disease, is associated with occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica. Millions of workers in varied occupations are exposed to silica worldwide. At least 1.7 million U.S. workers are potentially exposed to respirable crystalline silica in a variety of industries and occupations including construction, sandblasting, and mining (1). Although U.S. silicosis mortality declined between 1968 and 2002, silicosis deaths and new cases continue to occur, even in young workers (2).In some developing nations, silicosis is rampant, although data are sparse (3). For example, China recorded more than 500,000 cases of silicosis from 1991-1995. In Brazil, the state of Minas Gerais alone had more than 4,500 workers with silicosis. Wells dug by hand through rock with very high quartz content (97%) resulted in a silicosis prevalence of 26%.In India, more than 10 million workers are at risk.In 2005, WHO and its regional office, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the ILO, and the Health Ministry of Chile asked the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to provide technical assistance to these organizations and cooperating countries. In response to this request, NIOSH initiated a program called Elimination of Silicosis in the Americas to partner with WHO, PAHO, and ILO. This program builds on NIOSH expertise in silica measurement and control and diagnosis, treatment, and surveillance for silicosis. The NIOSH assistance is intended to provide technical training and assistance to partner government agencies, so that the agencies build internal capacity to assess silicosis prevalence and incidence, assess hazardous silica exposures, and develop effective interventions. Currently the NIOSH project is focused on partnership with the Institute of Public Health (ISP) and Ministry of Health of Chile. Substantial work on the project is under way in 2006 and planned for 2007. The project will broaden and strengthen the capacity building as additional partner countries (Brazil and others) participate. A goal of the project will be for NIOSH to hand off leadership of the project to its partners in the Americas.
Silicosis; Silicon-compounds; Silica-dusts; Disease-control; Silicate-miners; Mining-industry; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-respiratory-disease; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-system-disorders; Training; Treatment; Surveillance-programs
7440-21-3; 14808-60-7
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Newsletter; Lay Publication
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The Global Occupational Health Network