Introduction and aim Silicosis is a kind of parenchymal lung disease caused by inhalation of crystalline silica dust due to occupational and environmental exposure. Crystalline silica is used in many industries including asphalt manufacturing, concrete production, glass manufacturing, mining, quarrying, tunnelling, sandblasting, construction areas, cement production, and also in dental laboratories. Workers and technicians employed in these industries are at the greatest risk of silicosis. In the advanced stages of silicosis, severe functional loss may lead to respiratory insufficiency and death.
This study aims to define the features of silicosis in dental technicians diagnosed at our hospital and attract attention to the occupational hazards in that field.
Method This is a descriptive study with 111 cases diagnosed with silicosis after detailed investigation including clinical situation, occupational history, smoking habits, pulmonary function test results, chest X-ray and high resolution computerised tomography findings of dental technicians between 2007–2016 at Istanbul Occupational Diseases Hospital, Turkey.
Results Mean age is 39.01±7.87 years (range 23–61). Total duration of employment is 19.80±9.07 years(range 3–48). Mean duration of work per day is 9.82±2.42 hours and median is 10 hours. While 37.8% (n=42) of them had symptoms 62.2% of cases are asymptomatic (n=69).Of the symptomatic cases, 40.5% (n=17) had exertional dyspnea, 47.6% (n=20) had cough. Mean duration of symptoms is 26.63±26.65 months (1–120 months). 38.7% (n=43) of cases are active smokers, 34.2% (n=38) are nonsmokers and 17.1% (n=19) of them were exsmokers.The mean amount of cigarettes is 12.35±7.84 pack.year (1–33 pack.year) Functionally,FEV1 is 3.29±0.83, FEV1 (%) mean value is 87.80±19.19 (bu nedir anlayamadim, yüzde ise parantez içinde yazalim). FVC mean value is 4.06±0.88; FVC (%) mean value is 90.22±16.27. Results of FEV1/FVC mean value is 80.98±9.34. According to ILO classification, 2.7% (n=3) of them is category 0, 42.3% (n=47) is category 1; 28.8% (n=32) is category 2% and 26.1% (n=29) is category 3. Five out of 10 cases (50.0%) with radiological major opacity are type A, the remaining five is type B.
Conclusion Silicosis is a preventable occupational disease, but it can be incurable at later stages which might lead to respiratory failure and death. The most common symptom of silicosis is exertional dyspnea. The duration of symptoms is 2 years. Category 3 and major opacities are seen at advanced stages and indicate a belayed diagnosis. We believe that taking preventive measures for risky workers such as dental technicians, monitoring in terms of disease development and providing early diagnosis is important in combating silicosis and its complications.
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