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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2004 Mar 12;53(9):195-7.

Silicosis in dental laboratory technicians--five states, 1994-2000.


Silicosis is a debilitating, sometimes fatal, yet preventable occupational lung disease caused by inhaling respirable crystalline silica dust. Although crystalline silica exposure and silicosis have been associated historically with work in mining, quarrying, sandblasting, masonry, founding, and ceramics, certain materials and processes used in dental laboratories also place technicians at risk for silicosis. During 1994--2000, occupational disease surveillance programs in five states identified nine confirmed cases of silicosis among persons who worked in dental laboratories; four persons resided in Michigan, two in New Jersey, and one each in Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio. This report describes three of the cases and underscores the need for employers of dental laboratory technicians to ensure appropriate control of worker exposure to crystalline silica.

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