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Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2013 Mar;19(2):163-8. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0b013e32835bb19e.

Silicosis in India: past and present.

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  • 1Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical, Education & Research, Chandigarh, India.



This particular review focusses on the burden of the problem of silicosis and its clinical manifestations reported from India.


In recent estimates from India, there are over 3 million workers exposed to silica dust, whilst 8.5 million more work in construction and building activities, similarly exposed to quartz. Several recent reports on lung function assessment show both restrictive and obstructive patterns. Tuberculosis is a common complication reported in Indian studies. Occasionally, silico-mycosis, lung cancer and connective tissue disorders in association with silicosis are also reported. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in response to the direction from the Supreme Court of India has made several recommendations on preventive, remedial and rehabilitative measures. The NHRC has been asked to work with various stakeholders such as individual organizations, state and central governments and other agencies to implement the measures.


Silicosis is a common occupational disorder seen all over India, particularly in the Central and Western States. It is an important cause of respiratory morbidity. The problem has been highlighted on the national level as a major human-rights concern in India.

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