Classification and external resources
10 9 DiseasesDB MeSH D011009

Pneumoconiosis is an occupational lung disease and a restrictive lung disease caused by the inhalation of dust, often in mines.


Depending upon the type of dust, the disease is given different names:


Positive indications on patient assessment:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest X-ray may show a characteristic patchy, subpleural, bibasilar interstitial infiltrates or small cystic radiolucencies called honeycombing.

Pneumoconiosis in combination with multiple pulmonary rheumatoid nodules in rheumatoid arthritis patients is known as Caplan's syndrome.[1]


Pneumoconiosis result in about 125,000 deaths a year as of 2010.[2]

Popular culture

  • In the classic British film Brief Encounter (1945), derived from a Noël Coward play, housewife Laura (Celia Johnson) and physician Alec (Trevor Howard) begin an affair. She is desperately mesmerized in a train station lounge by his evocation of his passion for pneumoconioses.
  • In the 1995 British film Brassed Off, the band leader (Pete Postlethwaite) in a small coal-mining town is hospitalized with pneumoconiosis.
  • A 2006 documentary film by Shane Roberts features interviews with miners suffering from the disease and footage shot inside the mine
  • An episode of 1000 Ways to Die featured an incident where two kitchen workers succumb to pneumoconiosis from playing in cocoa powder.
  • In the widely acclaimed Puzzle/Shooter game "Portal 2", former CEO and founder of Aperture Science Laboratories, Cave Johnson, purportedly contracted and died of lunar pneumoconiosis after prolonged exposure to the moon rocks he was using in teleportation technology research.

See also


  • A Cochrane and M Blythe (1989) "One Man's Medicine, an autobiography of Professor Archie Cochrane". London, BMJ Books. (Paperback edition, 2009, by Cardiff University Publications (available from the Cochrane Library, Cardiff).

External links

  • NIOSH Safety and Health Topic: Pneumoconioses
  • Black Lung Benefits Act - U.S. Department of Labor
  • Coal Workers' Pneumoconiosis - The Merck Manuals: Online Medical Library
  • Black Lung - United Mine Workers of America
  • Black Lung - U.S. Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration
  • A Conversation about Mining and Black Lung Disease
  • Flavorings-Related Lung Disease
  • The Institute of Occupational Medicine and its research into pneumocomiosis
  • Institute of Occupational Medicine Research Report TM/88/17
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