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Original research
Trends in global, regional and national incidence of pneumoconiosis caused by different aetiologies: an analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017
  1. Peng Shi,
  2. Xiaoyue Xing,
  3. Shuhua Xi,
  4. Hongmei Jing,
  5. Jiamei Yuan,
  6. Zhushan Fu,
  7. Hanqing Zhao
  1. Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, China Medical University School of Public Health, Shenyang, Liaoning, China
  1. Correspondence to Professor Shuhua Xi, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, China Medical University School of Public Health, Shenyang, Liaoning 110122, China; shxi{at}


Objectives Pneumoconiosis remains a major global occupational health hazard and illness. Accurate data on the incidence of pneumoconiosis are critical for health resource planning and development of health policy.

Methods We collected data for the period between 1990 and 2017 on the annual incident cases and the age-standardised incidence rates (ASIR) of pneumoconiosis aetiology from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. We calculated the average annual percentage changes of ASIR by sex, region and aetiology in order to determine the trends of pneumoconiosis.

Results Globally, the number of pneumoconiosis cases increased by a measure of 66.0%, from 36 186 in 1990 to 60 055 in 2017. The overall ASIR decreased by an average of 0.6% per year in the same period. The number of pneumoconiosis cases increased across the five sociodemographic index regions, and there was a decrease in the ASIR from 1990 to 2017. The ASIR of silicosis, coal workers’ pneumoconiosis and other pneumoconiosis decreased. In contrast, measures of the ASIR of asbestosis displayed an increasing trend. Patterns of the incidence of pneumoconiosis caused by different aetiologies were found to have been heterogeneous for analyses across regions and among countries.

Conclusion Incidence patterns of pneumoconiosis which were caused by different aetiologies varied considerably across regions and countries of the world. The patterns of incidence and temporal trends should facilitate the establishment of more effective and increasingly targeted methods for prevention of pneumoconiosis and reduce associated disease burden.

  • hygiene / occupational hygiene
  • epidemiology
  • public health
  • pneumoconioses
  • international occupational health

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  • PS and XX contributed equally.

  • Contributors All authors contributed to the study concept and design. PS wrote the first draft of the report. PS, XX, HJ, JY, ZF and HZ did the collection and analysis. PS, XX and SX reviewed and revised the manuscript before submission. All authors approved the final submitted version.

  • Funding This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (81673207 and 81373023).

  • Disclaimer This manuscript has been posted to Research Square as a pre-print (

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available in a public, open access repository. The data sets generated and/or analysed during the current study are available in the Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx) query tool (