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P.T. Reid

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date: 25 February 2021

Pneumoconiosis describes the pathological reaction of the lung to inhaled dust, most often, but not exclusively, related to exposures occurring at work. It may be defined as a permanent alteration of lung structure due to the inhalation of mineral dust and the tissue reactions of the lung to its presence, excluding bronchitis and emphysema. The causes of pneumoconiosis are many and varied, but coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, asbestosis, and silicosis are most common. Many epidemiological studies have shown an exposure–response relationship between the total mass of respirable dust to which workers have been exposed and their risk of developing disease. These form the basis of regulations specifying limits to permitted levels of exposure. Workers who develop pneumoconiosis as a consequence of their employment may be entitled to compensation in some countries.

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