Progress in prevention: early diagnosis and medical control of occupational lung disease.
NIOSH 1990 Sep:25-32
Early diagnosis of and medical control of occupational lung diseases were discussed. The historical background of identifying occupational lung diseases in miners was summarized. Coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP) and chronic obstructive bronchitis (COB) were discussed. It was asserted that miners who develop problems from CWP actually have obstructive airway disease. This type of airway obstruction starts as chronic bronchitis but progresses to COB. Improvements in dust control and medical advances have been important developments in controlling CWP and COB. With proper management the life expectancy of miners with CWP and COB can be at least as long as that of the general population. It was noted that the age at which coal workers develop COB is nearly the same as it was 20 years ago. This means that it is necessary to prevent miners from developing CWP and to prevent COB from developing. The radiographic manifestations of CWP and COB were discussed in relation to the International Labour Office (ILO) classification system for opacities. The author recommends that ILO classification step/dust exposure curves be constructed to monitor workers with CWP. Coal miners can be monitored every 4 years without any undue risk. When monitoring workers with CWP it is considered important that the earliest signs of COB be detected to avoid progression of the disease. A light mask for reducing dust exposures to coal miners was described. The mask is similar to those worn by hospital personnel and has been shown to decrease dust exposures by 70%. A 70% reduction in dust exposure has been shown by ILO classification step time analysis to be sufficient to prevent CWP from developing during a coal miner's working life.
Occupational-diseases; Coal-workers-pneumoconiosis; Dust-exposure; Chest-X-rays; X-ray-analysis; Airway-obstruction; Coal-miners; Respiratory-protection;
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 90-108
Proceedings of the VIIth International Pneumoconioses Conference