Prevalence of Silicosis among Workers in Stone-Cutter and Silica Powder Production Factories


1 Department of Occupational Health, Faculty of Health, Iran University of Medical Sciences and Health Services

2 Department of Pulmonary Medicine,

3 Tobacco Prevention and Control Research Center, NRITLD, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and Health Services, TEHRAN-IRAN.


Background: Use of industry and technology must be based on protection of health as well as the environment. In other words, constant development of technology should fulfil human needs and not pose a health hazard. Silicosis is one of the oldest industry-induced occupational pulmonary diseases which is caused through exposure to particles of crystalline silica in respirable sizes and still is a major health hazard in workers exposed to silica all over the world. Since there is no cure for silicosis and in affected patients the disease may continue to progress even after leaving the workforce, dust control in the working environment is the only way to overcome this disease. Materials and Methods: An analytical cross-sectional study was performed on workers of the 27 stone-cutter factories in Malayer- Azandarian during 2001-2002. Sampling method was un-randomized and considering the type of study, all factory workers who were about 100 individuals entered the study. The study was done via clinical examination, questionnaire, spirometry, and chest x-ray. Results: Study results demonstrated that lung examination was abnormal in 21 workers accompanied by respiratory symptoms as follows: Twelve cases had irritative coughs. Four cases had coughs and dyspnea and 5 complained of exertional dyspnea. In 10 of them a significant change was seen in their chest x-ray. Fourteen cases had an abnormal spirogram curve in evaluation of their respiratory status and only in 4 patients spirometry was abnormal. Most patients with silicosis were under the age of 44 and had almost 5 years of working experience. Six patients were smokers. In conclusion, 10 workers had silicosis (10%) (6 cases of simple silicosis and 4 cases of the complicated type) and the diagnosis was confirmed by chest radiography. (Tanaffos 2006; 5(3): 31-36)