Pneumoconiosis - also referred to as miner's lung & black lung
Pneumoconiosis is the name for a number of lung diseases caused by inhaling different kinds of dust. People who work in dusty environments such as, miners, construction workers and shipbuilders are most at risk.
The main types of Pneumoconiosis are:
Asbestosis - is caused by inhaling large quantities of asbestos dust over a long period of time and is one of the most common forms of pneumoconiosis. (see Asbestosis for more information).
Byssinosis (also called ‘brown lung disease’) is caused by exposure to cotton dust. Byssinosis was more common in the past in this country when more workers were employed in the textile and cotton manufacturing sectors.
Coal Worker’s Pneumoconiosis (also known as ‘black lung’) as its name suggests this is caused by breathing in coal dust over a long period of time and so coal miners are often affected by this type of pneumoconiosis.
Kaolin Pneumoconiosis (also known as ‘china clay pneumoconiosis’) is caused by inhaling kaolin which is a substance used in the ceramic, paper, medical and cosmetic industries. However, this type of Pneumoconiosis is different because the sufferer may not always experience breathing difficulties.
Siderosis (Welder’s Lung) can be caused by inhaling iron particles. It mainly affects those working in the metalworking industries.
Silicosis is caused by inhaling silica dust over a prolonged period of time. Silica is present in organic materials such as sand, sandstone, clay, granite and slate. Miners, sandblasters, and those working in the ceramic and glass industries, are particularly at risk of developing silicosis (see Silicosis for more information).
What are the causes of pneumoconiosis?
Inhaling a number of different agents, organic and non-organic (often forms of dust), can cause pneumoconiosis. The agents collect in the air sacs in the lung, causing an inflammatory reaction that can cause fibrous scar tissue. This in turn can cause the lung to loose elasticity and impair lung function in the sufferer. The agents that can cause Pneumoconiosis include:
- Silica dust – see Silicosis
- Coal dust
- Asbestos – see Asbestosis
- Sulphur dioxide
- Nitrogen dioxide
- Mould spores from hay, malt, mushrooms and barley
- Cotton, flax or hemp.
Examples of some of the jobs:
- Abrasives manufacturing
- Asbestos removal
- Ceramics workers
- Fabric manufacturing
- Foundry workers
- Road and building construction
- Sand blasting
- Stone cutting
- Iron workers.
What are the symptoms of Pneumoconiosis?
There is usually a long delay of many years between exposure to the dust and the development of symptoms.
- Tightness of the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Respiratory problems
- Chronic cough
What do I do if I think I have Pneumoconiosis?
There is no specific treatment for Pneumoconiosis but the complications it causes can be treated and managed. If you believe you are suffering from Pneumoconiosis you should seek medical advice immediately from your doctor. You may then be referred to hospital to see a specialist for lung function and x-rays or a CT scan which should help diagnose the disease and evaluate its severity.
If you are awarded Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit for your asbestos related disease, you may also be entitled to a one off lump sum payment from the government. (Visit the 1979 Act table so you can see the payments awarded).
Can I make a claim?
Yes - If you have been diagnosed as suffering with Pneumoconiosis you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
Call us on 0800 0384 384 for a free consultation with one of our experienced Industrial Illness Solicitors who will discuss your condition and let you know if you can make a claim and how we can help you.