Silicosis mortality, prevention, and control - United States, 1968-2002.
Silicosis is a preventable occupational lung disease caused by inhaling dust containing crystalline silica (1); no effective treatment for silicosis is available. Deaths from inhalation of silica-containing dust can occur after a few months' exposure (1). Crystalline silica exposure and silicosis have been associated with work in mining, quarrying, tunneling, sandblasting, masonry, foundry work, glass manufacture, ceramic and pottery production, cement and concrete production, and work with certain materials in dental laboratories. To describe patterns of silicosis mortality in the United States, CDC analyzed data from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) National Occupational Respiratory Mortality System (NORMS) for 1968-2002. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated a decline in silicosis mortality during 1968-2002 and suggested that progress has been made in reducing the incidence of silicosis in the United States. However, silicosis deaths and new cases still occur, even in young workers. Because no effective treatment for silicosis is available, effective control of exposure to crystalline silica in the workplace is crucial.